Negative Docs, film stills, HD-video, 9:00 min., 2016 © Erica Scourti
SITUATION #48: Erica Scourti, Negative Docs, 2016
17 September – 27 November 2016
Erica Scourti’s Negative Docs uses a process of algorithmic filtering to record the artist’s declining mental condition during the course of 2015. Using a sentiment analysis tool, Scourti classifed her written documents across the year into positive, neutral and negative categories. A text was then created from only the words categorised by the algorithm as negative.
Organised in order of increasing negativity, and read through a speed reading app, the video constitutes a performative reading of Scourti’s descent into depression and her inability to keep pace with life. Overlaid and cut in with screen-recorded videos of online searches, as well as camera uploads from the artist’s own archives, the narrative accelerates towards unintelligibility. It captures Scourti’s uneasy mental state in relation to the daily pressures to keep moving and improving, alluded to in the video by an efficiency app. Negative Docs points to the deleterious effect of digital technologies on our mental health, above all the constant capturing of our attention for commercial ends.