Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Simulactive Office Space

.Gif Source: Z. Scott via We Invent You.

Some online reports this week discuss the work of .gif artist, Zach Scott, who has created an artistic online conference call simulation. Scott sampled 15 voices with 75 lines of corporate office meeting dialogue which he randomized. If you visit this site, you will experience a Webinar as surreal Millennial art. Scott cites director David Lynch as a big influence, especially with regard to the use of ambient sound to contribute to an jarring atmosphere, and also in relation to a collage of normal details which, together, add up to something unsettling. From The Creators Project interview with Scott:
Lynch--he's my very favorite director and a huge influence. The intent of the ambient soundtrack was to create an unsettling atmosphere. I included quiet supermarket sounds at the beginning and end of the loop because I want people to subliminally feel the influence of money and transactions.
In many conference calls, time really is money, and every distraction and interruption begins to add up monetarily. The participants' inefficiencies are tangibly costing someone money, and it becomes stressful.
I had a few alternate backing tracks that dramatically changed the whole experience. One of them was a loop of a few cheesy hold music smooth jazz clips. I didn't use it because I thought it made the website too funny. I wanted to make people feel a little uncomfortable, and smooth jazz is just too funny. The backing track is really important in setting the tone--if the backing track was the sound of chatter and work and keyboards then the resulting vibe would be more industrious. But I wanted people to think about the absurdity of the conference call and feel a little despair.

Slate interviewed Scott, and discussed the effect of this project; it is eerie, surreal, funny, yet taps a tech-sourced Millennial melancholia:
“I think conference calls provoke such a negative reaction because they allow people and technology to frustrate us simultaneously,” says Scott. “The human failure is easy to recognize—people talking over each other, calling in 10 minutes late and interrupting, forgetting to unmute before speaking. On the technology side, conference calls are in an Uncanny Valley–like stage where they manage to serve the basic purpose of allowing numerous people to speak with each other, but are still far away from providing a smooth experience that feels as practical as being in the same room with other people.” Reactions to the site have varied from amusement to near despair.

“Before I launched the website, I expected that those who were more familiar with conference calls would respond to the more humorous elements in it, while those who were unfamiliar might react more to the melancholy elements,” Scott says. “While I intended for ConferenceCall.biz to be surreal, somewhat melancholy, but also funny, a lot of the reactions I've seen have viewed it as a documentation of a certain kind of hell.”
Image Source: ConferenceCall.biz via The Creators Project.

.Gif Source: Z. Scott via We Invent You.

No comments:

Post a Comment