Who? What? GaGa? Goldfrapp? Aguilera?

Just who is iamamiwhoami, the anonymous Youtuber behind a trio of tantilising online teasers?

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Spoiler alert: It’s probably Aguilera. Or GaGa. Probably. Perhaps.

So early last December a YouTube account was set up by a user calling themselves 'iamamiwhoami' and a single video, the memorably titled 'Prelude 699130082.451322', was uploaded to the profile. The clip, a sort of earth-mothery eco-chic final-year grad student effort, showed various human limbs protruding from trees, shot in a chromatic palette of stretched green and yellow tones.

Fair enough. But the film had the look and feel of something a little too polished for your usual online arty fan-vid. We’re talking YouTube after all, not Vimeo. Intercut with the tree people imagery was a close-up of an animal birthing a bizarre amniotic sack and a highly stylized overhead shot of a woman reclining foetus-like in the dark.

The clip went pretty much unnoticed until a second video, '9.1.13.669321018', was released in the New Year, a video that showed a blacked-up feral woman in a glacial cave licking dirt off the rock face. Then the shit really hit the fans. Who was the woman in the cave? Why did she look like Gaga? What was with the obscurantist video names? Who was behind the project?

Fanning the fires further, another clip was uploaded by iamwhatiamorwhatever on Monday (yes, that’s a year ago in YouTube time. We were busy at fashion week ok?) More birthing liquid (think pre-cog Samantha Morton in her goopy pool in Minority Report) and the first semi-clear shots of the primal female. And at this point the debate splits into three camps - Gagaists vs Aguilleraites vs. Goldfrappians. It’s a promo for Alison Goldfrapp’s forthcoming album. It’s GaGa’s latest sensory experiment. It’s Aguillera’s newest reinvention. And on. And on.

If you want to read the minute ins-and-outs of the chat check out GorillaVsBear’s blog. What’s more interesting, probably, perhaps, is what the disproportionate amount of attention the videos have received says about us as a generation of net-junkies. It’s not that the content isn’t worth watching because it is. Probably. Perhaps. But really, the point is that the internet’s birthed a new wave of mass culture theorists literate to 500 characters in the art of picking apart the provenance of anonymous artworks online. Like all of a sudden anyone could work in the valuations department at Sotheby’s. We’re all aesthetic archaeologists now. Only the lost civilization we’re uncovering in real time is our own.

Because really, if there is something like a collective memory, what these sorts of things prove is that our communal external hard drive is full to capacity. We’ve stopped gathering knowledge and started defragmenting data instead. Because knowing whether it’s Aguillera or Gaga really doesn’t matter when the actual question is why? And if the ‘why’ is simply to get people to associate subversion and excitement with a CD then maybe we’re kind of fucked as a civilization. Probably. Perhaps.

Just to piss on the parade of originality, several ideas in this rant originated in other people’s brains. Namely The Onion  and Adam Buxton’s deconstruction of YouTube comments.

Watch the latest video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7kguPpzR3U
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