My Happy Medium

Video: VU JA DE

Cover image by @ryancarlstudio

Greetings folks. I'd like to share some of my plans with VU JA DE. But first, let me explain why I'm here. If you're reading this, it's either because you RSVP'd for Saturday's screening, or you've already signed up for this newsletter. Regardless, I've got plenty in store, so I hope you stick around.

First things first, I'm incredibly grateful for those who spent their Saturday night with us - sipping, snacking, conversing, and attempting to solve Rubik's cubes. For me, the most special part was presenting alongside brilliant pieces from Greg Davenas, Hanah Cho, Jordan Wippell, and Kati Kelli. Seeing this kind of work, I'm constantly reminded of one of art's many purposes: as a conversation-starter. Most of the time we're all so consumed with our own thoughts, so there's nothing better than getting those thoughts out of your head, into dialogue. Media, literally the means through which we communicate, may be our most powerful pathway into doing this.

But it's a two-way street. We watch the media, and the media watches us back. And increasingly, we're swaying heavily towards the latter. I'll restrain myself from diving down the surveillance capitalism rabbit-hole, but I'll just say this: Facebook (and every other major platform) doesn’t exist to support dialogue or enhance our understanding of the world. They exist to understand us, and sell ads accordingly (Jaron Lanier said it best). Art still has its place on these platforms, but only to the extent that it draws useful nuggets of data from its audience. Dialogue isn't the goal; rather, it's a means to an end: modeling our consumption behavior.

I'll cut off that rant now, but I say all of this to underscore the importance of preserving spaces where dialogue isn't capitalized on by algorithms. So yes, you're reading this off an electronic screen that's connected to the internet. But no, it wasn't delivered by some algorithm that calculated a favorable likelihood that your reaction would be informative. Whatever conditions brought you here run much deeper than simply what managed to halt your infinite scroll. I’d like to keep it that way.

My aim with this project is to replicate the benefits of being present with someone in real-time, without sacrificing the extraordinary abilities of the internet. The work I’m making won’t fit nicely into any algorithmic timelines, nor will it be worth consuming in half-conscious zombie scroll. And hopefully, above all, whatever results from all of this won't be predictable by any amount of code.

This is my happy medium (unintentional double entendre) between meatspace and digital space; between you and I. From brief thoughts like this one, to full-fledged films, these messages will sit in your inbox until you're ready to view them, instead of demanding your attention all at once. Of course, my chosen medium comes with some constraints. Primarily, it's highly-dependent on word-of-mouth sharing... the human algorithm. So if there's anyone you think might be interested in this, go ahead and spread the word ( I sincerely appreciate all of you for joining me so far. Now, back to work.

Straight to your inbox.

No algorithm necessary.

      2020 by VU JA DE