crowdsource by Liubo Borissov, opening at EyeLevel BQE Gallery
It is undeniable that the Internet has changed the face of interpersonal relationships, but can it be claimed that it has also created completely new ones? For example, one could argue that Facebook has mutated the meaning of the meaning of the word “friend”, even spawning the common colloquial use of the word "de-friend". The systems designed to increase connectivity come with un-expected side effects, and across the board, online social applications are changing our understanding of friends, relationships, and intimacy.
Chatroulette is the most recent mutation of online encounters, a cam-to-cam online interface that gives each user the ability to “skip” the other user they are randomly connected to. The resulting psychic landscape is an exercise in a digital-cowboy style mentality of nothing-to-lose lust + disgust. Free from consequence or social repercussion the user base of this less than a year old social forum, provides an endless catalogue of human emotion.
Liubo Borissov created a hack for this world, a digital police interrogation mirror, and turned it on the population of Chatroulette in the same random manner its users meet each other. He has collected hundreds of hours of rogue footage of users being shown their own image upside-down. Part anthropological, part comical, part pornography, this data is deliciously naked and vulnerable.
Liubo Borissov’s solo show crowdsource opens at EyeLevel Gallery on Saturday June 25th, and contains video, print, and live interaction video capture. Through the work Liubo ponders the quality and quantity of these new relationships, and his ability to capture and assess them. The resulting pieces invoke many of the same emotions of the source material: a curious detached voyeurism, mild anxious excitement, and low grade arousal. Amassing the material, trends quickly emerge- and it’s near impossible not to form some kind of judgment towards them.
Liubo Borissov on this most recent series of work, entitled the "Narcissus Series":
According to one reading of the legend, the tragedy of Narcissus was not his vanity and self-love but that he was cursed to be unable to recognize his own reﬂection. His unrivaled beauty, his fatal end was inevitable. A few millennia later, neuroscience discovered a condition known as Capgras syndrome, associated with damage to the fusiform gyrus, an area in the brain that specializes in reading faces. Patients afﬂicted with the Capgras syndrome are unable to recognize faces, including their own face in a mirror. This ability, to recognize one's reﬂection is common to very few animals and may be one of the keys to consciousness, language acquisition, empathy and perhaps a neurophysiological theory of the understanding and appreciation of art.
The site chatroulette.com is an internet video chat application that pairs random strangers. Once they are connected, they see their own image and the image of a partner, randomly selected by the site's servers. Users have the option of starting a conversation or pressing 'Next' to be connected with a new stranger. Due to its popularity, inherent unpredictability and global user base, chatroulette is a naturally attractive environment for conducting social experiments. The premise of the Narcissus Series is to recreate the conditions of the myth and capture that moment of self-recognition. Bespoke software was created to divert the incoming video feed, reﬂect it and feed it back so that each person was confronted with their own reﬂected image, in place of an expected remote random partner (ﬁg. 1). The moments before they chose to move on were recorded and later arranged in a tableau of human reactions ranging from the complete lack of recognition (and immediate passing, likely in search of truer love), to amusement, joy, anger, confusion.
crowdsource opens Saturday June 25th 6-9 PM at:
364 Leonard St.
Liubo Borissov Artist Statement:
As a maker, I have an interest in fundamental building blocks, which started before and goes beyond my artistic practice. My doctoral work was in particle physics, in which I focused on the phenomenology of elusive building blocks of matter and their relationship with space, time and the universal symmetries of nature. Consciously or not, my scientific background has informed my approach to dealing with issues of context and aesthetics as they relate to art. My personal bias favors work that intentionally avoids appropriation, collage and the familiar vocabulary of post-modernism. Rather, I focus on communicating ideas and exploring relationships between elemental primitives and the interplay between reality and perception. Starting with minimal materials does not lead to minimalism. Complexity seeps through semiotic and linguistic systems of rules for production and transformation, which are responsible for encoding and embedding the message of the work into its medium and conversely decoding it through the experience of the spectator.
Liubo Borissov is an assistant professor at Pratt Institute's Department of Digital Arts. He received baccalaureate degrees in Mathematics and Physics from Caltech and a doctorate in Physics from Columbia, where he also studied electro-acoustic music at the Columbia University Computer Music Center. He holds a masters in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU's Tisch School, where he was a Global Vilar Fellow in the performing arts. He has taught at Harvestworks, Parsons School of Design and the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
In his works, he explores the interface between art, science and technology. His multimedia installations, performances and collaborations have been featured throughout Europe, Asia and North America, including the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference, the International Computer Music Conference, SIGGRAPH, the Spark Festival, the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, and the Kennedy Center.