.Gif Source: Z. Scott via We Invent You.
Some online reports this week discuss the work of .gif artist, Zach Scott, who has created an artistic online conference call simulation. Scott sampled 15 voices with 75 lines of corporate office meeting dialogue which he randomized. If you visit this site, you will experience a Webinar as surreal Millennial art. Scott cites director David Lynch as a big influence, especially with regard to the use of ambient sound to contribute to an jarring atmosphere, and also in relation to a collage of normal details which, together, add up to something unsettling. From The Creators Project interview with Scott:
Lynch--he's my very favorite director and a huge influence. The intent of the ambient soundtrack was to create an unsettling atmosphere. I included quiet supermarket sounds at the beginning and end of the loop because I want people to subliminally feel the influence of money and transactions.
In many conference calls, time really is money, and every distraction and interruption begins to add up monetarily. The participants' inefficiencies are tangibly costing someone money, and it becomes stressful.
I had a few alternate backing tracks that dramatically changed the whole experience. One of them was a loop of a few cheesy hold music smooth jazz clips. I didn't use it because I thought it made the website too funny. I wanted to make people feel a little uncomfortable, and smooth jazz is just too funny. The backing track is really important in setting the tone--if the backing track was the sound of chatter and work and keyboards then the resulting vibe would be more industrious. But I wanted people to think about the absurdity of the conference call and feel a little despair.