Library of Non-Art — Qianlin Wang

Libraries nowadays are not limited to physical books anymore, some exist online which include eBooks, movies, music, and even websites, all in digital forms. Library of Non-Art is such a virtual library that consists of videos, websites, pictures, and news which are similar to art. Most of them are found online. The differences between these and art are probably that the former lack refinement, intention, and further development. 

It is noticeable that videos with performative nature are quite common online. In the section of “Performative Videos”, I picked videos which all are somewhat “boring”. Consisting of a video of a guy saying prime numbers for three hours, and David Lynch’s Daily Weather Report as well as Today’s Number series. There are also two educational videos teaching you how to cut kale and mix cheese, which are literally just cutting kale with your knife and pouring three kinds of cheese into a bowl. There are lock-picking series and random product review series. Internet is such an amazing platform which allows every niche to find their audiences, even those seemingly “boring” performances. However, what is considered as boring? Are eating, sleeping, walking, and every other daily activities boring? Videos about these activities are rather popular online. People only find them interesting if they’re online, because they’re mediated, performed, and redesigned. Having someone consistently upload videos to report the weather could be bizarre and surreal, but to observe the weather yourself daily is not so interesting. On the positive side, these videos encourage people to find beauties in small things. However, at the same time, it shows that people give up participating in their real lives and prefer to be the audience of someone else’s life. 

Another interesting thing about internet is the platform itself. The dynamics of relationships and the way things are presented are very different from offline platforms. A good example is “Mother Horse Eyes” from the “Internet Relations” section. Reddit user u/9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9 posted a series of stories as comments under various posts by other users in a range of unrelated communities. The stories are written from different characters’ perspectives and literary styles which all have a hint of Lovecraftian. If this series of stories were published in real life, “Mother Horse Eyes” wouldn’t be so successful. It is because that people found those comments to be unsettling and started to connect different scraps of stories from different places under 9M9H9E9’s profile, the whole thing became interesting. While people are wondering if this is a pure fiction or if 9M9H9E9 truly believes what he wrote, this whole participation lasted for more than a year, became another story within the stories. Lynch’s videos also have similar features, that the audiences want to join and solve the mystery in the work itself but also from other user’s comments. These examples are certainly helpful for artists to understand how this platform works and produce their work differently when it’s shown online. 

In this library, I also created sections such as “Otherworldly Creations”, which includes operating systems, conspiracy theories, and personal websites created by people who might have mental illnesses. In the “Internet Art” section, there are a diverse range of selections, such as Library of Babel, influenced by Borger’s novel, and a video about what would the Beatles sounds like if the Nazi had won. I also put AI’s relations and animal’s relations into the archive. Dating is not only limited within human but also AI, dogs can communicate with their owners, the relationships are not only about human anymore. There will be more items and categories to be added into the library in the future, as an archive and inspiration for artists to study about human behaviour, relationships, and interactions happening on internet, and perhaps in the end create new forms of artwork that is designed for the digital world.