All My Friends Are Offline (2019)
All My Friends Are Offline is a video made of screen-captures of Chinese Internet live streamers who leave their cameras on when they go to sleep, usually during 1am to 6am China Standard time. In the video, I labeled each screen according to what the live streamers usually do during the daytime. However, during the nighttime when they go to sleep, what we have is only a black screen on which almost nothing is visible despite the sound coming from the recorded space, usually very intimate space such as the live streamer’s bedroom. These scenes give us a paradoxical sense that the streamers are both there and not there; that these are their most public and private moments. It is also an aspect of the Internet that is romantic and yet sometimes disappointing.
I divide the screens into grids to mimic the screen of an old surveillance monitor, or a modern panopticon. Yet, the power relationship here is shifted: those who are looking into others' private world are disappointed by what's in front of their eyes.