Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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RAMOS: thank you for joining me
RAMOS: i've been thinking about this video since i saw it at the festival
MAYER: Beach Babe Aims to Please
it's short and simple, but super loaded
MAYER: those are some of the qualifications of what i believe comprise "a successful work" from myself. So thank you.
RAMOS: for me, it represents the new interface of attraction or communication about attraction
MAYER: what is funny about that video is that females walk up to me after that video and say that they understand it immediately and men often ask me what that video is about.
that is funny
MAYER: it also has to do with us being the entities of focus and objectification even for existing
and also, simultaneously being aware that online, there is a hyper understanding by programmers that bait your eyes with visuals in specifically highly designed location.
That has always been a virtue of good design, but now our eye balls are literally being tracked. Well, its actually the pupils.
RAMOS: oh so the arrows are representative of eyes... and since you mention female objectification are these specifically males eyes? or it doesn't make a difference.
MAYER: ...the dual-Purkinje eye tracker uses reflections from the front of the cornea
I don't think it makes a difference. But I often feel that the "internet users" have a little bit of a machismo feeling.
or at least on the platforms I often engage
RAMOS: i guess most programmers and computer scientist are male
so you can say that the internet was man-made
i wonder if it attracts a larger male audience because of it... not sure if any of that is accurate anyway
MAYER: I don't know.
RAMOS: there's also an essence of the distance between people
MAYER: That video plays with "the gaze"
RAMOS: right - so the arrow is nondescript, can be anyone, anyone can be looking at you and you can be anyone looking in the internet
theres a component of detachment and sort of creepiness to the arrows
MAYER: I have presented a video for you to watch, as a video maker, but am letting you know that I am aware of others. Yet, I am the performer in the video who doesn't acknowledge the presence of others as well.
Well the arrows definitely swarm, which is uncomfortable. Especially for female viewers. They seem to pick up on that more then the men viewers.
RAMOS: that awareness and lack of acknowledgment is a formula for denial...
don't you think?
as in i put myself out there, for me, cause i want to, regardless of who looks, very well knowing that it will be seen, otherwise why put it up in the first place?
why not hang a picture of yourself on the wall?
not you as a filmmaker... but what the film represents
MAYER: how do you exist without the burdens of doing so?
RAMOS: do we not exist if we are not on the internet?
MAYER: People have always presented themselves and photographed themselves. And yes, others would comment behind their backs. But the internet gives a platform to the viewers of content along side the creators.
You can't reallllllly be concerned with everything that is thought of you or your markings. That would destroy a person.
RAMOS: well let me point at something you said - why photograph yourself in the first place? what's that all about? why not just exist?
MAYER: I'm not that zen
Humans have always left marks for other humans.
We wrote, drew, and photographed as soon as we could to help our visual language of existence. We are story tellers. The stories might not always be accurate, but they are there.
RAMOS: i agree with "we are story tellers", there is something divine about that... but this notions has been taken to an extreme, i mean what stories are we telling today?
the phenomenon of the selfie for example
what value are we adding or offering one another
other than - "look at me, I exist
you mentioned earlier the subject of objectification of women
isn't that what these selfie "stories" are producing or supporting?
"look at me - i have nothing to say"
MAYER: the selfie was an improvement in technology and a self created visual timeline
You are talking about the selfie being shared on the internet.
RAMOS: yes i guess i am - i am referring to this new human interface and how we are communicating through it
let me rephrase... today we have this thing called the internet... it allows me to communicate with thousands of people at once - this is represented by your video, specifically with the multitude of arrows
you walking in and out of the water represents the content that is available today, what we make for others to see
for me, your video is criticism of the lack of content and the overload of attention that the interface of the internet has created
is that what you intended?
MAYER: no. It's not that small. It's not about just others eyes.
It's more about the feeling.
I am thinking less about "the others or the viewers" but more about the initial stimuli, the performer, the creator, the maker.
Weather that be an artist or a selfie maker.
RAMOS: you think that putting yourself out there is a form of pleasure?
MAYER: Not necessarily. My work is highly performance based. I use myself as a tool.
RAMOS: not you as in Jillian - I mean the you that the video represents, which includes the selfie maker
let's talk about the selfie maker
is that a form of pleasure? or a form of communicating?
MAYER: oh ok, are you speaking about validation through image acceptance?
as in "I got a lot of likes, i am valid, i exist"?
RAMOS: yes - a form of pleasure seeking as opposed to the storyteller - such as Maria Popova, the antithesis of the selfie maker
someone who tries to inspire and lift with the content she put out there
as opposed to the selfie - which is simply attracting attention to oneself without having anything to offer
MAYER: The selfie is not important. It was the critical mass of selfies that was interesting.
RAMOS: and it is interesting why?
i mean it is for me in the sense that it reveals the lack of depth in contemporary storytelling ... but why is it for you?
MAYER: because how did everyone start doing it? It was a critical mass. It was a trend. It was a platform for non-famous people to archive. It was a new accessible technology, ect......
I mean, I don't really give a shit about selfies but abstractly is interesting when you think about it culturally. As in the culture of "current"
I think spending 4 minutes shooting/editing/selecting/publishing/tagging the "perfect" selfie that expresses oneself and helps them tell the story of how they perceive them-self is not so different from a person lying on their date or resume or getting plastic surgery.
All this is how one a) sees themselves b) want to be seen
RAMOS: i agree with you
with everything you say
RAMOS: all i am asking is what does that say about contemporary culture?
perhaps it has always been that way, most of us have very little value to add to the collective story, it just now became apparent with the internet