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EYES ON CULTURE #020
26 July 2023
EYES ON: Frank Mazano’s recent video collection on FellowshipTrust
Weirder than weird, the collection of videos titled Current Value by Frank Mazano was a part of the Post Photographic Perspectives II — Acceptable Realities show presented by Fellowship. The wider show was centred around “the use of AI to interpret the world in which we live, and to question how we represent it.” But Mazano’s videos do much more than question the world we live in. They reveal a parallel world — gnarled and pink, made up of flesh and trash.
WHY WE’RE WATCHING:
When you see an AI generated video that makes you feel this icky, that conjures such a distasteful feeling in your tummy, it’s worth taking a step back and trying to figure out why. Why these videos in particular? Dystopian AI videos with the same deranged, distorted faces are being pumped out like no tomorrow. So that’s not it.
Instead, in these videos, most scenes aren’t that shocking at first. They feel very everyday. Images melt into denigration. What begins as true, is slightly twisted with each frame, as new faces are switched out for old ones. Images fluidly become something else — butts into portraits — the ease with which they arrive to the final underbelly is the horrible part.
Handwritten Digital Notes
EYES ON : The Are.na Channel: I miss knowing what everyone’s handwriting looks like
If you aren’t addicted to the Are.na Explore page, you are doing the internet wrong. Like a social media site, but better, Are.na offers the chance to discover, categorise and then remember bits of digitised culture from across the internet.
One of the most endearing Are.na channels is “I miss knowing what everyone’s handwriting looks like.” Crowdsourced by its maker, the channel is made up of images of contributors’ hand written notes, each referencing their own script.
WHY WE’RE WATCHING:
The channel oozes nostalgia. But in quite an unusual way.
Mementos of a pre-digital age, a person’s handwriting is implied to have revealed something of one’s character. Now, on a handwriting-free platform, a call is made for members to reveal that unseen side of themselves.
So, on a platform built to collect digital mementos, people contribute everyday examples of their script in an attempt to bring back that forgotten form of intimacy.
It’s pure sentimentality. It’s an example of harnessing tech to record something lost (because of tech), for no other reason other than that it’s missed.
The Everyman’s Show
EYES ON: Kim Shui’s decentralised show
When Kim Shui began her career as a fashion designer she knew nobody. Without connections she started with a blank slate and zero traction. Shui claims that what brought her success was not knowing the right people but tapping into all the people. She ascribes the popularity of her brand to social media and the type of practice it produced — what she calls “co-creation.” Her clothes respond to her digital network and vis-versa.
To take this symbiotic relationship one step further, Kim Shui’s SS23 show was “decentralised.” It sourced talent, music and some designs from the internet, and was even held in the archetypal public space — Grand Central Station. Our favourite piece in this decentralised puzzle was the Pixel garment, which whipped 784 submissions of original content into a printed gown.
WHY WE’RE WATCHING:
Although the concept of a decentralised fashion show is interesting in itself — in that it dismantles conceptions of traditional creative direction or the “star” designer — more interesting is Kim Shui’s framing of her decision to distribute her creative power as one she’s been making all along, through social media.
We all know the influence social media has on trend-making. At this point, influence is too mild a word to describe the relationship design trends have with social media. And so, for Shui to think about her brand’s relationship to social media as one that has always allowed it to be decentralised, founded in “co-creation” (ie. that the power of decision has always been spread across every user), is extremely prescient.
As the first time digital fashion has sold at auction, the Future Frequencies sale, curated by Christie’s & Gucci, was a historic venture for digital couture.
Check it out.