The interactive project, “My 8 days as a War Artist” is the result of a brief trip to Afghanistan in September 2010. I applied to become a “war artist” embedded with the Canadian Forces. My proposal was to observe war through a lens of domestic chores such as cooking and cleaning. Through these household tasks, I hoped to find some common understanding or mechanism for comprehending the contemporary landscape of war. In 2010, Op ATHENA which began in January 2006, was winding down and Canada was making plans to withdraw troops from the country. It was a once in a lifetime experience, one that was riddled with road blocks, military hierarchy, and the limitations of video documentation. I worked on this project on and off for seven years, trying to make some sense of the seemingly random material I had shot. The result is a multi-layered narrative based on memory, the unknown and the imagined.
Although the project can be navigated through these three main themes, the experience is determined by the user. The entire project takes approximately 30 minutes to go through one complete pass. I’ve also posted a daily diary of my time there.
Last year I was pondering the topic of my 2017 online video project and was inspired by a NY Public Radio podcast of the show, Note to Self. The podcast, What Happens to Videos No One Watches spoke about “the lonely web”, a term coined by Joe Veix for Fusion. According to Joe, the lonely web…“lives in the murky space between the mainstream and the deep webs. The content is public and indexed by search engines, but broadcast to a tiny audience, algorithmically filtered out, and/or difficult to find using traditional search techniques.” The lonely web is not restricted to online videos with a handful of views, but includes Twitter accounts with a low number of followers, songs that no one has listened to and Instagram photos that remain unseen, to name a few examples.
If one looks specifically at YouTube, 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute, yet according to TubeMogul, 53% of these videos have fewer than 500 views and about 30% have less than 100 views. That means that there are a lot of lonely videos out there, desperately waiting to be seen. For this year’s project, I decided to try and find friends for these lonely videos, so each month I will find and re-make a video with less than 20 views and then post them back to YouTube to see if I can increase the number of views (friends) for these lonely videos.