Own Your Content

Video installation 
Produced for Post-Digital IV, NO END Contemporary, Johannesburg
Re-exhibitied at Digital Gardens, TMRW ART, Johannesburg

Looking at my last //2Weeks residency for Floating Reverie (Concept Generator) I opened with the question, “If the rest of the market is automated, why not Art?” I’m asking myself now, how far are we willing to take our own self-automation and what does content have to do with it? How severely is this Content Industrial Complex affecting contemporary epistemology?

We’re tryin so hard to achieve authenticity, yet my mother’s lawn seems to give Minecraft a run for its money. After all, aren’t we trying to build our best world? Capitalism hasn’t slowed down and, more and more, I’m seeing confessions of pressure from millennial creatives feeling like there is no time be playfully be creative—only to brand, market, and commodify every creative endeavour. We’re drained because existence in a post-internet society is constant labour: Advertising and big data moguls have turned our very existence into content. Is there even time for authenticity?

I guess someone needs to run the simulation. Every move, like, utterance, share, and input, adds to a Horror Vacui network of thirsty algorithms. It seemed fitting to want to make a work about Us and Our Content when the Facebook algorithm so aptly presented me with a post I made two years ago, very much along the lines of these ideas. In ways, this post has fallen out of date, some references seem cliché but simultaneously some suggestions haven’t fallen far from the truth either. Own Your Content explores the ideas in this text and presents them to us as a reflective manifesto: Is the algorithmic condition an exercise in hyper-authenticity, weeding out all forms of social performativity and associated cultural capital? Or have we simply branded ourselves into a carefully calculated commodification? Do we try hold onto the last remnants of ourselves for as long as we can, or do we simply set our content free?

Photography by Anthea Pokroy