Behind The Fourth Wall ver. 2



Inspired by the cut-up technique popularized by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, Behind the Fourth Wall is an autobiographical video work that goes beyond my own personal boundaries and physical limitations.


By embracing randomization and an element of chance through scripted software, I have created a work where I feel free to say anything. Hundreds of personal messages are hidden within hundreds of videos. Due to the randomization and selection process, only a few of these messages and videos are selected and utilized within each repetition. To witness them all, one would have to watch dozens of repetitions, something I know a viewer is unlikely to commit to. To further open my intentions up to interpretation, I removed any specific nouns within the messages. Because of this, their meaning greatly changes dependent on the other messages they are selected and composed with. With each repetition, a messages interpretation can greatly vary, allowing me to safely hide my most personal thoughts behind the technology.


From this process I began to understand how the work could go beyond my own physical limitations as an artist. The software never grows tired. Through countless reconfigurations of image, dialogue and sound, it is capable of finding the perfect combination to represent a period in my life. It's compositions constantly unveil new insights, some that I never expected, some that go further than I am comfortable with. By trying to hide within the technology of the work, I made the software more capable of unveiling something truly meaningful.


Each repetition begins with the same intro video accompanied by a random music track. From over 200 videos, 12 random video clips are selected and divided into 3 separate acts. When each new act begins, another music track is randomly selected from 16 possible tracks and layered onto the previous tracks. Finally when all three acts are completed, the final outro video will play as the music tracks fade out. The end result is a video work that manages to alter itself with each viewing. A work that is never finished, that may or may not find perfection, with or without my presence.


Afterthoughts...preliminary musing by Yam Lau