Aftermath 2094: Masah Azar
What is your work about?
My work for Aftermath 2094 will function as a eulogy in memory of the Internet; echoing the collapse of the ‘old web’ as in Liz Jensen’s novella Our Silver City, 2094. In the form of a video slideshow, it attempts to commemorate humanity’s relationship with the Internet in a heartfelt and humorous way by chronicling the good and bad that digital culture has offered us.
What are you trying to communicate?
I am attempting to highlight our dependency on internet media and how interwoven it has become with our everyday lives. Although this involves critique, I also want to memorialize the intimate ways in which we have come to co-exist with the Internet and how crucial it has become to how we function as a society.
Are you inspired by some aspect of Our Silver City, 2094?
The work is mainly inspired by the novella Our Silver City, 2094 by Liz Jensen – I’ve used it as guide to the sequence of events that led to the destruction of our major cities and the introduction of a new way of life. My work directly references the fall of the “first web” as told in the novella.
Describe your process of developing your work from ideas, through planning, to experiments and production.
Initially, I had planned to work with the media I am familiar with, to create a series of artist books made with found and recycled materials, imitating the style of war-time comic books and cartoons. However, I began to consider the medium antiquated, and the “artefacts” that would be left of humankind from Jensen’s 2010s onward would more likely be digital.
I reached out to Kiriaki Hajiloizis (fellow Fine Art post-graduate student) about my concept and we devised the idea to create a video work with snippets of fake articles, children’s cartoons, news reports and found footage of what could have led up to 2094. Kiriaki is a digital artist using video editing and animation, we combined our skills to create a convincing “simulation” of the crises that occur in Jensen’s novella.
Over time, the concept evolved to become ‘eulogy4theinternet.mov’, building on our current knowledge rather than predicting the future. It also give us the opportunity to be both sincere and satirical as the Internet can be explored with a limitless amount of depth and detail.
To plan the video, I devised the idea to write a eulogy for the heartfelt and “serious” segment. We browsed through various internet archives from memes to online games to web design and began to experiment with .gif making and video looping, as well as Word art.
What does it mean to you to make this work?
It’s an exciting chance to collaborate with one of my course mates whose work I admire and whose medium of choice I have always wanted to explore and play with. In addition, it’s also been rewarding to combine my lifelong experience of the Internet with my art practice.
What do you hope visitors will experience or take away?
I hope to give visitors a heightened awareness of the media they consume and the digital traces society leaves behind. After seeing this portrayal of our relationship with the Internet, visitors may be able to reimagine ways of interacting with technology. I also hope the video will elicit a variety of complex emotions in the viewer from sadness and anger to amusement and joy.