Aqueous

Video Photo Info
Aqueous is a video-triptych that features an abstract animation. The liquefied images that appear on the screen are created with YouTube videos. Aqueous can potentially use the over 4 billion videos presently in the service, creating a infinite pallet of ever-changing combinations.


A wireless keyboard placed in proximity to the screens allows users to enter a query. The artwork then downloads the first 100 videos on YouTube that appear under the selected search and abstracts them into liquid forms. Certain details remain recognizable– a face, a hand, an automobile – in the constantly mutating amorphous shapes being generated by the artwork. Periodically, the YouTube videos that form the abstraction are momentarily revealed for 10 seconds, allowing viewers to grasp the source images that form the abstraction.


The triptych format references a rich art-historical tradition of three panel paintings in European altars. As a technological altar, Aqueous evokes the religious-like devotion our culture has to YouTube, a veritable oracle we consult for all matters, from the banal to the profound. The streaming service has had a deep impact on the visual culture of the 21st Century, becoming the most significant visual encyclopedia of our times. Aqueous is part of a series of projects in which the artist explores how knowledge is being created, stored and distributed in the digital age.


The artwork was commissioned under the advisement of Montalvo Arts Center’s Sally and Don Lucas Artists Program.