Yesterday, The Creators Project detailed a creative challenge by Justin Miller, where the illustrator made a new computer illustration every single day for a year. While the work wasn't overly ornate, it also wasn't rushed, quick bursts of creative energy: it was clear that Miller heavily meditated on his creative process and saw himself evolve as an artist as the year churned on. Today, however, we found a project by UK artist Bruce Asbestos, that takes a different view of prolificity. Asbestos released 1,000 video pieces on YouTube at once yesterday--a deluge of idiosyncratic clips that took us some time to make sense of.
After a cursory glance, I shrugged off this project a self-serving grab for attention--the videos are all two-to-five second pieces with titles like "BFF," "Let's Make A Website," and "Let's Delete Our Websites," where Asbestos looks at the camera with a slight grin and says, "Let's make a website…"
Then I noticed a particularly interesting title, "I Think You Need To Be More Selective About What You Post On The Internet." Hmm…
This isn't a mere troll, though. On Asbestos' site, the artist says about this project, “See what happens when you give a lot to your audience." This dare--or challenge-- is like the reverse of Miller's 365 day project. Rather than our watching this artist develop over a year, maybe Asbestos is playing the role of spectator and is waiting to see what the Internet will make of the extreme quantity of work.
Maybe the page views will rack up and the comments section will yield some interesting replies. Maybe a blog (like this one) will try and make some sense of a project that doesn't necessarily need to make sense. The videos might not be the actual project, but instead the ebb and flow between the creator and voyeurs will turn into something more interesting than just 1,000 short videos with winking titles.
Digging through Asbestos' site reveals a little more about the creativity instilled here. There's an artist statement that is particularly brilliant:
Bruce Asbestos (March 1st, 1982 – September 4th, 2076) is an british transvestite artist who is a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pope art. Born Hildegard Mannekind, she was afflicted with a small tail, which came to prominence in her notorious Greenwich performance ‘The Tail of Asbestos’. Her works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 2070s. After a successful career as a dog handler, Asbestos became a renowned and sometimes controversial cheerleader. The Bruce Asbestos Museum in her native city, Pittsborough, sylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist whose name rhymes with ‘Spruce Las Bestos.' [sic]
Not only does "pope art" hyperlink to the 'Pop Art" page on Wikipedia, but the entire bio is editable by anyone who views the site, promoting the audience to create value in the biography of an artist we don't personally know. Everything could be fabricated. Does the Internet decide what to make of Bruce Asbestos, similarly to her 1,000 videos that are just quietly sitting on YouTube, waiting to be analyzed (even if there's nothing yet to say)? Or, again, is this part of Asbestos' longer, conceptual goal?
This morning, we posted about The Father of Video Art and asked what Nam June Paik would do with a tablet or YouTube. Asbestos might not be taking the torch from the Korean legend, but as her editable bio notes, she'll be making work until at least 2070. We have plenty of time to see what happens when she gives a lot to her audience.