This Is You
This Is You proposes a metaphysical feedback loop involving the lens, a broadcast system, biological ocularcentrism and the sun. Using the birth of user-generated content as the starting point, the work traces the 25-year history of the TV program Funniest Home Videos in an attempt to describe the prism of existence as solar vanity. This Is You meditates on the desires of the self, bathed in light and rawly exposed without any other intent than being itself. In 1989, American TV producer Vin De Bona launched a TV special inspired by two Japanese programs: Kato-chan Ken-chan Gokigen TV and Waku Waku Animal World. An open call for amusing home videos that would be edited together with music and sound effects to produce a collage of amusing mishaps and spectacles interlaced with commentary from a host. The resulting special was later transformed in 1990 into America's Funniest Home Videos and is regarded as being the birth of user-generated content for western television. Audiences were so hungry for their "15 minutes" that De Bona Productions received up to 1,600 tapes per day in the '90s and was the sole reason for the Hollywood post office employing extra staff at the time. An ad hoc ethics committee comprised of comedy writers looked over and assessed these tapes. Even today, royalties continue to be paid to Tokyo Broadcasting System for use of style and presentation for America's Funniest Home Videos. If self-awareness is essential to the human condition, then can light forced through an oculus be responsible for consciousness? Do all sensory feedback loops comprise self or is self an artefact of light waves and other physical phenomena? Light strives to get a better look at itself by improving upon the technological extensions of the biological world (cameras, selfie sticks) and will eventually drown in stored memories (reflections, hard drives) over time. Australian composer Chris Cobilis set about transcribing episodes of both Australia's and America's Funniest Home Videos to develop an animated graphic score and accompanying script which conceptually speaks of the feedback loop This Is You proposes. The work was performed live in studio by Chicago's Spektral Quartet and American poet Kenneth Goldsmith at Electrical Audio with engineer Steve Albini. Chicago's Spektral Quartet perform repertoire in the traditional canon while equally embracing present-day modern composition. American poet Kenneth Goldsmith is the founder of UbuWeb and was a broadcaster at WFMU for 15 years.