The Physical Impossibility of Choice in the Mind of the Consumer
A performance based installation exploring the notion of choice in the age of excess.
The three thousand videos present in the installation compile around ten thousand hours of viewing time. Watching just over two and a half hours of videos a day it would take ten years to view them all. Spending eight hours a day, Monday to Friday for a month, will only account for about two percent of the available viewing.
Yet this whole collection could be digitalized and stored on a multi-terabyte hard drive no bigger than just one of these videos. The fact that we can store so much information now on drives, devices and now in the ‘cloud’ means the physical presence of our choices has altered.
Many people are now downloading more music and video each day than they actually view. Sure these files are easy to access, and portable, but we still only have so many hours in the day to watch or listen to them. Does having so much choice actually enhance our lives, or are we creating stress and anxiety for ourselves?
This installation investigates these issues by exploiting the medium of videocassette tapes. They are a format that most people alive today can relate to and understand. You only have to pick one up to know if it is a short, medium or long length of tape, which we know equates to several minutes up to several hours of viewing.
To accentuate the dilemma of choice the videos have all been labeled the same. The viewer can watch whatever they like, though won’t really know what, until the video is played. There is also no remote control, compelling the viewer to make the extra effort, enabling the choice to seem more existent. Perhaps the greater the effort, and the less choice we have, the more we will appreciate what we have.