Crush God

Crush God (with captions) from Maddy Mathews on Vimeo.

Having grown up online, both as a consumer and producer of content, a large percentage of my connections are parasocial – formed or fostered through a screen, with varying levels of reciprocation. I am fascinated by the idea of the voyeuristic “viewer”; my anonymous social media followers, data-collecting private companies that own all digital platforms, the gaze of men in general, the audience that experiences my work as an artist. Whoever they may be, the viewer holds immense power to either see and validate, or ignore and reject me. 

In the video Crush God, I reimagine the all-seeing entity of the viewer as an object of desire. In my desperate pursuits to make them fall in love with me, I construct my own behaviour and identity. Using free animation software designed for corporate training videos, I illustrate this negotiation of emotional responses by recounting intertwined fantasies of love and surveillance from my childhood to the present day. Crush God is presented on a tablet embedded in a paper mâché facade painted to mimic rock formations. The environment references ancient deity altars, theatre sets, and novelty commercial decor found in casinos, theme parks and chain restaurants like the Rainforest Cafe.

Installation materials: paper mâché, garbage, ikea side table, acrylic and house paint, oil on found candle, green beeswax candle made by Cotey Pope. Thanks to Alberto Porro for photo documentation, and Muriel Ahmarani Jaouich for modelling.

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