Performance, text, sound, custom software, YouTube videos
Subtext (2019). Video excerpt.

Subtext offers an alternate path through YouTube, disrupting the expected presentation of media reality. In contrast to how we typically view online content–selecting a video based on personal desire from calculated recommendations–a random set of videos is displayed all at once in response to user input, including more obscure uploads not normally seen. Absent human intervention, Subtext randomly chooses new search terms from the associated comments and descriptions, continuing this process indefinitely.

The videos are often surprising and strange, spanning poignant confessions, bizarre anomalies, and sleek corporate promotions. As our collective media forms a parallel reality, simultaneously detached from and mirroring the physical world, Subtext aims to explore the contours of this universe in an unmediated manner, excavating a more factual and complete view compared to the narrow glimpse offered by profit-motivated platforms.

In live performance Subtext serves as an unpredictable instrument, sculpting a progression of searches into a narrative of human yearning within techno-capitalist modernity.

Subtext (2019). Performance video. Performance Test Kitchen, Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL, US. 2019. Video by Li-Ming Hu.