Perspectives In the Crowd



Perspectives In The Crowd


Perspectives in the Crowd

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The universal gesture of the upraised arm holding a lighter at a live concert has received an upgrade. Instead of lighters, outstretched limbs hold aloft, like triumphant torches, countless digital cameras and cell phones to document the here and now to be saved and shared, seemingly forever, on the internet.

The videos in Perspectives in the Crowd are all documents of the same event: a live performance by the band Daft Punk at the 2006 Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California. They were gathered by contacting people who posted their personal footage on YouTube. I asked each person if they would give me permission to compile their raw data of the concert onto one DVD. Hailing from various parts of the U.S. and the world, these DIY documentarians came together for one night at Coachella, and they are reunited here via their shared recorded memory to present a night of their impressions.

The videos represent both a personal and collective experience, a position of subjectivity within a crowd while simultaneously presenting an objective, often unedited, view of the crowd and band. When compiled on one DVD and projected in succession in a public space, layers of experience are being added at every remove from the original site and experience—from a tent to a digital camera to the internet to a gallery. This contemporary transformation in how, we as viewers, process experience as both participant and recorder is changing our relationship to the present. As we transfer our memories to prosthetic devices and download them to a public forum it raises dozens of questions.

What does it mean to have so many people documenting the same event with different types of cameras from so many perspectives? How have technologies like digital cameras, cell phones, and sites like YouTube changed the way we individually and collectively experience the world around us? Does this way of documenting our own experiences help us to remember or does it usher in a new way to forget the moments between recorded images? Does it mean we capture and convey the ‘real’ experience or are we generating an entirely new reality?

Perspectives in the Crowd
Bolsky Gallery
Otis College of Art and Design
June 20-August 29, 2007

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