Director: Dane Sutherland (Most Dismal Swamp)
Commissioned by KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
Chapter 4: Toward An Unknown Disease
Words: Confraternity of Neoflagellants
Scraper is a dank mixed-reality film-biome presented in six parts. Each kaleidoscopic chapter is an interface for a folkless lore of Minimally Viable Knowledge: stories exploring the cultural logics of data mining and aggregation. Together, they elaborate a ‘connectionist mentality’; an implicit ideological code emerging across our platform feeds. Scraper’s acid-pessimism traces a scorched history of excommunication, encryption, and ecstatic extraction; an ‘entropology’ of memetic redundancy, resignation, and model collapse. Scrapers systematically search and index manifold data from across the internet. On the basis of these crawls, each user is issued with their own digital doppelganger; a (data) portrait. These (data) portraits are predefined by what is already searchable or a known category. Scraper explores our internalisation of this process: How much of our gestures, terminologies, concepts, rituals, philosophies, visual and material cultures actually emerge beyond the frames of algorithmic recognition? Scraper takes a bleak view: today, the social and discursive strata in our most dismal swamp of ritualised prediction is dredged and re-dredged for moodboards, thinkpieces and datasets. Each prompt further dredges the same depleted slough. In the fast-paced field of Machine Learning, some have already warned of this state as “model collapse”. What of the cultures and artefacts that embody this entropic course? Are all the cores, promptist screeds, and aphorisms that attempt to define the contours of our Multi-User Shared Hallucination nothing more than grist to a degenerative adversarial network?