Who’s talking?

The video starts with a zoomed in clip of a girl in a video talking. The camera slowly zooms out to reveal more videos of other individuals. Their voices start to merge and you cannot hear a single voice.

Hello World is ‘an immersive video installation featuring over 5000 video diaries found on the internet’, all framed on a big screen that towers over the viewer. The visuals and sounds are quite overbearing, but this work is more than it seems to offer.

Christopher Baker has successfully portrayed the concept of today in this work. The tiny videos organised in tiles, and the mashed up voices is almost a soothing experience to watch and hear. The world today is fascinatingly interconnected. Anyone can broadcast themselves and allow others to view it online. By collating multiple videos of individuals and placing it in a gallery setting where anyone can visit, Christopher Baker emphasises how easy it is for people to get connected.

Part of the title of the work itself, ‘how I learned to stop listening and love the noise’, to me, is what makes this work even more interesting. I love the play of words and the irony of it. It might also imply that the world has become too easy for anyone and everyone to share their thoughts, that nobody is even listening. This is further interpreted by the muffled voices, where then viewer cannot hear a lone voice or cannot even hear a proper sentence. The voices are just a muffled mess, and doesn’t sound like voices anymore,

The work, despite showing the video diaries of strangers, still gives off a sense of familiarity. Viewers can step up and watch the individuals closely. There is no barrier whatsoever, and a viewer can hover his/her hand over the projection and watch the videos over his/her hand.

Projections on hand

The individuals recorded in their visual diaries are all in a different setting, some personal like their bedrooms, houses and some in public places. Viewers get a sense of connection with these people, seeing their settings and familiarising with the way they talk, sit and carry themselves. When viewers step forward, a shadow is created. The shadow reminds one that the space between the virtual and reality is still there, and cannot be entirely diminished.

Shadows over the wall

Christopher Baker’s work revolves greatly around the concept of virtual and reality, and even psychology.  Are the people really there? Should they be seen as real individuals, or is this merely just a collective group of videos? His work intrigues the viewers through this concept that will definitely spur discussion.

One thought on “Who’s talking?”

  1. (Sorry I was late getting to this essay, somehow I missed it when I was going through this week’s research critiques.)

    Excellent! I was very impressed how you picked up on the irony of a multitude of voices all speaking simultaneously, at the same time, like a chorus, but without a true connection between them. Isn’t that often the condition of social media? We are all posting, sharing, etc., but are we heard? Well, I think sometimes yes, but many times we are just lone voices in the crowd as so beautifully demonstrated in Christopher Baker’s Hello World. I thought this was a very fine essay that asked some interesting questions about alienation, separation, individuality, the real and the virtual. Excellent.

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