DIGITAL BLIND DATE, by Juliana Monachesi
[original in Portuguese, translation by Kika Nicolela, Caroline Rodrigues and Jan Kather]
The Exquisite Corpse Video Project, having embraced random and chaotic processes, departs from the Dadaist method of creation. Each artist responds to the ten seconds of video sent by the previous artist with one minute of his own, from which he sends the last ten seconds to the next artist. The result is video that runs about ten minutes. The power of a video made by twenty hands surpasses the current vogue of the collective practices in the visual arts. Notably, the artists involved in this project each have a "solo" career, participating in important festivals and exhibitions worldwide. Beyond emerging as a new "collective,” the ECVP experience distinguishes itself by gambling on the possibilities of sharing and creating through the platform of decentralized social networks that have spread through the world wide web. And it offers an aesthetic answer to the mayhem of audiovisual content jamming the same www by showing that there is intelligent life on the You Tube channels.
I have read about a critic’s difficulty in analyzing the Minimalist art movement in its time – it was so new that he was forced to invent a different approach. To empty the prejudices in his mind, he took the image of the child playing around the artwork as the departure for his text. Whenever the subject is new, it demands a new vocabulary. And Leo Steinberg already taught us that art, being it modern or ancient, constantly requires new criteria of analysis. From the criteria of formalism and graphic design (bypassing the criteria of interchangeable content, i.e., the time at which an artwork is made, read and re-read) to biographical and other criteria that stand between the conventional and the idiosyncratic, between the generic and the particular, between social context and singularity, Steinberg stresses the importance of establishing an interpretative starting point to focus on the provocations of a new art in order to investigate its intentions in a disarmed way. "A succession of other criteria and none of them obsolete", writes the famous New-Yorker critic in the introduction of a recent re-editing of his famous essay "Other Criteria" (1972).
Facing a new artistic provocation, it is the critic’s duty to set his criteria aside in order to best comprehend the intentions of the piece. At this point, not only do I understand that the major connection between the fragments produced blindly by the ECVP artists is in the random collage of noise, music, direct sound and sound tracks – a true collision of references and preferences that make of each video an antidote for audiovisual monotony – but I also conclude that this group delineates the digital culture in which we live, a culture no longer fragmented like the post-modern one, but shattered and precarious in regards to the creation of meaning. Exquisite Corpse Video project introduces us to this new world, mimicking its intrinsic shattering and precariousness, while simultaneously generating new meanings for contemporary experience.