The Fine Art Of The Internet Pt. VI: The FAIL compilation

Whilst some believe that true art should be restricted and vaulted away in galleries, I, an obviously more refined individual, do not. What we need is a revolution in the way art is conceptualized. Art is coming for the people, art is raining down all around us, art is constantly coming, and we are being showered in the warm, gooey, loving embrace of art, even as I type this. The internet is a freeing and wonderful resource opening up whole new realms of possibility and opportunity, many an intrepid artist has already taken to this medium to share their work. I have sifted through the best and the worst of those, offering to you a selection of the more interesting pieces.

Since it was famously brought to the UK from across the Atlantic by the visionary artist Jeremy Beadle, the FAIL video has dominated every entertainment medium capable of putting picture and sound together. It has nestled lovingly into it’s new home on the world wide web and benefited from a surge in popularity thanks to freemium gallery’s like Youtube. Having the fail hashtag pinned onto your piece is an assurance that the artist can sit back and slowly watch the view count rise and rise, which has resulted in the presentation of the art itself often becoming somewhat lazy. S what precisely is the fascination with these videos? Why are they still so popular? It cannot simply be as simple and sadistic as what the Germans call Schadenfreude (taking delight in anothers misfortune) I think there is something a little more complex than that at work here.

Whilst the sound alone may not have the symphonic release that the combined package does, the part it plays in the art itself is extremely underrated. Watch the first segment of the clip above, once with sound and then once more muted, and you will truly understand the level of sonorous cohesion the audio is playing in this piece. Sound can even become the main brushstroke in a piece such as the one above and this is especially evident in the example below. With this in mind you will notice that a talented FAIL artist is always experimenting with subjects that create jarring or amusing noises to really help sell their message.

As far as visuals are concerned the more contorted, twisted and disgusting the better; Mirroring the work of Geiger or Da Vinci’s Vertruvian Man. What the audience expects is carnage, they feed off of that destructive and dangerous energy. In simpler times we could have vented this dark need in other ways but as society requires us to become more and more restricted in our vicious natures the violence in our art necessarily reflects this conflict. The primary color of these features is blood, whether promised or realized it infects every snippet and clip.

The psychology of the art is simplistic; whatever reason is behind the sick enjoyment of these vicious vignette’s their popularity is undisputed and several artists are capitalizing on this fact and putting minimal to no effort in creating their own offerings. There is a laziness now in the creation which is reflected in the consumption that has tarnished the medium with a trashy tag that will be hard to shake. In fact in the first pastiche above there is even a clip that is repeated, implying a lack of care in it’s curation, or perhaps it is a thinly veiled message of “you’ve seen this before idiot” purposefully implanted by the artist themself.

There is nothing new or shocking in the FAIL video movement at the moment, the entire genre needs a shake up, but unfortunately as long as we the audience continue to eat it up, it will continue being served to us, stale or otherwise.

Words by Cuthbert Cunningham

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