Autodigest is the focus for an ‘apocalyptic’ perception of contemporary culture, dedicated to developing and sharing a critical eye within a culture that is quickly becoming synonymous with a black hole of pure entertainment. Taking on Baudrillard’s theory of hyperconformism as its starting point, the aim of Autodigest is to provide a space for the analysis and allegory of the catastrophic state of contemporary social and cultural structures, inviting the consumer to reconsider and reinvent his/her role in the process.
Autodigest was conceived [as in ‘concept’] in a hotel lobby in Newcastle on May 26, 2001, at approximately 9 a.m., after a night of excess and euphoria. Hotel muzak acted as the trigger for a quick rêverie on the state of music at the beginning of the 21st Century. An 8-hour tout van drive followed, much karaoke was had, much to the joy of some and the despair of many.
A series of unplanned events and actions, coincidences and convergences, launched this onto the public sphere and made it “serious”.
What does one mean?
A mobile phone company sponsors a million-pound reward for information on a missing child.
The execution of Saddam Hussein is recorded by mobile phones, footage immediatly downloadable on peer-to-peer sites amongst mp3 pop hits.
Ringtone culture manages to reduce the entire history of popular music to an endless parade of digitised, 3-second loops.The social consequences of digital ubiquity.
Media addiction (digital photography as the “new nicotine”).
The possiblity of a relationship between digital overconsumption and mental illness.
The impossibility of intimacy.
The karaoke syndrome: Chris Crocker becomes Britney.
The codification of eroticism: grandpa sings Bieber and the result is pure vertigo. The body dissolves in self-unawareness.
Memes explode the possibility of coherent discourse: daily lives become treasure hunts for the next “pun”.
The gap between what technology allows and the narrowing slice of its actual exploration broadens beyond the tolerable.
Though not secretive, Autodigest remains outside the obliquities of authorship. It means to walk the tightrope between the complexity of the issues addressed and a hyperconformist approach to cultural resistance, placing itself right in the middle of the syndromes it analyses and critiques. For all we know, one of these days it might surface as a reality show. For now it has released two full-length CDs, participated in four compilations of original material, performed seven live shows, released one cassette tape, one podcast, one radio jingle and one hand-written edition of memoirs.
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