Failing Downshift Compilation

2015, Arne Mier

In his work Failing Downshift Compilation, Hamburg-based artist Arne Mier explores the characteristics of so-called fail compilations on the video platform Youtube. Compilations provide all kinds of extreme moments that occur only rarely in daily life, in a presorted and compressed form. From an univolved safety distance they can show us real fails by real people, unhappy and sometimes deeply painful events - traumatic experiences, physically as well as psychologically.
From this huge variety of video clips, the artist samples a new compilation, combining dozens of clips of people stumbling, crashing, and falling from heights. Through a slow-motion rendering, each clip has been reduced to two percent of its original speed. As the video footage has 25 frames per second only, the images in between are produced automatically by the software. Thus most of the image frames are no actual representations of the fail, but imagined moments digitally generated, resulting in an alienated, almost abstract aesthetic of movement.
Usually, compilations show one fail after another in seconds, leaving no time to even remember what happened in the last ones. The deceleration in Arne Mier's work emphasizes their essence - from the impulse for the »point of no return« to the moment of the irreversible accident - and hereby forces the viewer to take an empathic position, while at the same time being distracted by the beauty of the glitch. This conflicting nature of the mechanisms of virtual social behaviour entails the challenges of the future.