As part of our ongoing video series made in collaboration with Video in Common, aqnb recently caught up with Claire Tolan during her three-month Perlin Noise Residency at SPACE in London. In the first of what will be a two-part interview the Berlin-based artist talks about ways of relating to each other online and shared coping methods within the context of the ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) community on YouTube – a subculture of relaxation and care among strangers that has developed on the video hosting platform since its launch in 2005.
Through ‘You’re Worth It’, a regular show on Berlin Community Radio, Tolan has been exploring the breadth of the ASMR phenomenon, dedicating each broadcast to a particular trope or subset; Big Brother contests whispering, fingernail tapping, houseplant cleaning and role-play spa visits etc., that has emerged from the now over two million strong body of videos in circulation.
Tolan’s early interests lie in human-computer interaction, network behaviour and language (of care), encouraged by studies in Information Science and English Literature. Through her work she highlights the level of functional intimacy – both physical and emotional – created by the ASMR artists, showing how the community has galvanised around the need for a meditative space, one that counteracts attention-hungry apps, tabs and feeds. However, rather than going on a ‘digital detox’, the ASMR community looks to create alternative technological spaces for relaxation from the very tools and methods that in other instances exhaust us. **
Watch the video embedded above and see here for Part Two.
Produced in partnership with Video in Common. This project has been made possible through the generous support of Arts Council England.