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Why live life when you can watch it on YouTube?

Reflecting on remediation and the lightness of being with a video of a train station

We are media partners of the Royal College of Art MA curating graduate exhibiton, No One Lives Here. In this series of blogs, graduates will explain their particular thoughts on the exhibition, which concerns the digital revolution. Over to you, Galit!

The thematic of our No one lives here exhibition - the exploration of aspects of the digital age such as the dissemination and remediation of imagery - reminds me of my experience of the work Alter Bahnhof Video Walk by Cardiff and Bures Miller at last year's dOCUMENTA (13). This work that in my opinion relates to our exhibition, raises a question that I am interested in: what is the nature of remediation? Is it merely a technological act or is it produced by viewers' experiences? 

This site-specific and time-based (26:51 min) work was set within an old train station in northern Germany. Participants who wished to experience the work were requested to either upload a digital video onto an iPod screen or smart phone and then listen to Cardiff’s voice and constructed narrative guiding them through the station’s interiors. The walk evoked a powerful experience derived from the notion that participants experienced these events in the same locations that had been filmed. The sequence of images, on and off screen, that were accumulated by participants during the walk evoked two worlds, an alternative or virtual world on screen and the ‘real world’ that sometimes merged and sometimes were separate. 

The distribution and reproduction of the digital video was inherent to the experience of the work and is associated with elements of mobility, space and time that led to an immediate experience that appeared to happen in ‘real time’. In fact, the video’s events were all staged and pre-recorded, producing a disturbing reality.

In my opinion, the ongoing performance of this work by numerous participants and their multiple experiences articulated by their engagement with technology, mobility, space and time is the actual remediation that links to our exhibition. This is in the context of viewers’ multiple experiences, navigating through, negotiating and absorbing their individual encounters with mediated images selected by us the curators.