Daniel Cockburn’s You Are Here

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

Daniel Cockburn

A bemused and slightly anxious film, Daniel Cockburn’s first feature You Are Here(2010) is a perfectly concocted expression of everything we don’t understand about our new century.

Fitting for a movie that features the viewer in its starring role – the “you” of the title – a central character in Daniel Cockburn’s You Are Here (2010) is the aggregate entity ‘Alan’. The film creates Alan by layering in quick succession, shots of different men and women performing – or failing to perform – a series of small actions. Cockburn uses this device to displace the viewer identification that typically drives a film’s narrative. Meanwhile, a voice muses about the fragile nature of identity. “Are you the same person before and after putting something down and picking it up again?

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Army of YouTube

November 6, 2009 § 20 Comments

Faced with the awe-inspiring popularity of web-monoliths like YouTube, contemporary art risks becoming nothing more than a quaint relic of the 20th century.

It’s probably not fair to compare contemporary art practice with YouTube; yet there is evidence to suggest that somewhere in the ulterior of its collective brain, the art world does just this, and finds itself lacking. How else to understand the ongoing assurances given in art exhibition press releases and catalogue essays about the important role the viewer plays in the construction of meaning – and the intention to facilitate it with this very exhibition?

If artists once played a leading – avant garde – role in providing a complex and forward-looking framework for reflection on the contemporary world, it now seems most comfortable bringing up the rear, providing explanations for developments already intuitively understood and widely enjoyed by the culture at large.

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