David Horvitz is an artist of the Internet age, navigating both virtual and physical media and formats. He became well-known for his do-it-yourself projects, for example in which he encouraged people to take pictures of themselves with their heads in the freezer and upload the photo to Tumblr—a post that spread quickly through social networks.
Mood Disorder also appropriates the unique dynamic of the web. The starting point is a photograph of Horvitz, which shows him by the ocean, his head buried in his hands. Horvitz makes use of a visual language that he previously explored in his book project Sad, Depressed, People, which relates back to Bas Jan Ader’s I’m Too Sad To Tell You. He uploaded the “stock image” to Wikipedia’s page for “mood disorder,” thus making it available to the public domain. It did not take long until the photograph was used on websites all around the world to illustrate depression and mental illness. Mood Disorder makes evident the dynamics of contemporary network phenomena and the independent virtual existence and persistence of content on the World Wide Web.