2011, A2 digital inkjet print on metallic gloss paper
Permanent link: http://darkeuphoria.info/the-scream-2-0/
Comprised of 649 profile pictures from my Facebook profile’s friends list. These images are used to create a mosaic self-portrait of myself recoiling in at the vastness of the network from which the images were originally sourced. This work appears alongside a discussion of user generated content and media assemblages by artists Evan Roth and Mclean Fahnestock (see thesis, pages 29-30).
The tiles in this mosaic are made up of 649 profile pictures mined from the artist’s friends list on Facebook. This work is an evolution of the artist’s interest in the images of screaming/ suffering/ “scream face” which appear with some regularly on the internet as either meme or moniker. But here, the plethora of data, the soup of the digital commons, our unsolicited commitment to post and to read and to follow and to cite and to to signify our social interactions and visual abstractions which social media and email communications generate is central to the artist’s pose and logic for the construction method of the image.
In Norway in 2010 I stood merely a foot away from Edvard Munch’s immortal The Scream (1893) at the National Gallery in Oslo. The strangest thing to be standing there. No queue, seemingly no security, although I felt eyes on me everywhere. But there I was – a hushed breath away from history. Having long considered the image to be somewhat melodramatic – the comical face in dramatic pose beneath an apocalyptic blood red sky – it was odd to be alone with such an apparently haunted object. It was comical though wasn’t it? After all it had long reminded me of the mask in the movie Scream – or was it the other way around? – and my Facebook profile picture of the last 5 years had been Matt Groening’s remix of the famous image depicting a hysterical Homer Simpson. But here I was, haunted. Weirdly, the gallery, was a sequence of white rooms, as I suppose they usually are, but in the old city of Oslo they felt like dining halls or receptions, big heavy doors with big brass handles and The Scream.
There is that scene in the closing stages of 2001: A Space Odyssey when the last astronaut, Dr. David Bowman, finds himself in a surreal 18th century room. He says nothing. There is no sound as I recall, but the breathing. And here I was in a big square cold white room. Elaborate cornices, brass handles, wooden floors, CCTV. Breathing a silent scream.
If an exhibition such as this can have an end, then perhaps this is where that end should be – right in the middle of the Dark Euphoric moment. Amidst the contradictions, between the opposing realities of mediation and experience. Full stretch in the Gothic High-Tech slipstream of Bruce Sterling’s atemporality, deep in crisis’ of credit, data and environment, bound forever to the technological determinism of Jobs and Gates, walkers among the apocalyptic debris only just beginning to interpret the endlessness of Zizek’s Utopian paradox.