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Hauntings

Hauntings is a transmedia piece spread across three digital platforms: YouTube, Instagram and SoundCloud, platforms which embody the prevalent mode of cultural consumption of our time, that of the amateur producer-consumer (or prosumer). I produced a micro-constellation of work on the theme of "haunting," drawing on analog horror and creepypasta culture, which is driven by mostly anonymous prosumers, and which expresses a paradoxical hauntological nature, harking back to an 'analog' age through digital mediation. I also attempted to generate a digital hauntology through a close examination of the 2021 film We're All Going to The World's Fair by Jane Schoenbrun. The noisy, low quality of the voice travelling through internet media, as well as the isolation of the amateur online creator express a ghostliness.

For instagram, I made a two-minute video, layering footage from analog horror's Marble Hornets and L O C A L 5 8 with footage of Cottons Garden Estate in Kennington. The soundtrack is composed using my modular synthesiser and a tape player, emulating a variety of Analog Horror audio tropes, such as hiss, murky sound quality and pitch fluctuation. Following Mark Fisher, I find links between utopian mid-century architecture and recent hauntological media. I aimed to express the feeling of being uncomfortably drawn backwards into a decayed past, its loss pressing into into our social psyche while remaining fundamentally inaccessible.

 

On Soundcloud, I uploaded an audio piece exploring the disturbing ‘too-close’-ness of digital voices, taking two clips of digitally mediated speech from We're All Going to The World's Fair and cutting the words out, leaving only the non-verbal mouth sounds. The misophonic result paradoxically expresses the the digital voice’s uncomfortable proximity and its distant, wind-like quality.

On YouTube, I produced a video essay, “Message for Casey,” quoting We're All Going to The World's Fair. Here I mimicked the protagonist's produsage. I decided to take an introspective approach, talking of my own experience on the internet in my early teens, as I found parallels with the main character Casey’s experience online. The video consists of a mishmash of voice memos, phone calls, podcasts and YouTube videos. By positioning myself at the centre of the essay, I explored the uncomfortable parasocial intimacy of content creation, sharing my personal life and my domestic space. The audiovisual content is intentionally amateur, while the audio is disjointed, passed through different devices, apps and speakers, taking on the noise of lo-fi digital communication.

 

Amateurs like us continue to upload the media of our lives to the internet. Most of it quickly becomes unseen and unsought, isolated together in the cold and dark of data centres, at a scale far greater than the Lost Media of the analog past. As time passes, only the haunting trace of our content remains, among innumerable other audiovisual ghosts.

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