It perhaps makes sense to document my digital suicide project back on digital terms, my own terms. Perhaps not. I am not sure. Let me fill you in. I decided to snuff it on facebook back in August 2013. Several reasons really, Snowden started happening, I realised that I had been feeding into the facebook machine for too long and too hard. I was an avid user, addicted you would say, I decided to snuff it out. Facebook (using capital F because it is the start of a sentence only) allow you to delete your profile and recommend that you download your data file. I think so you can re-upload your past life again when you can’t take the shivers and cold sweats – no more. I downloaded me. Delving into this monster, things begin to manifest, strange thoughts, a sense of horror at the things you said and the things you posted. You realise how much you suck, you can never take back what you said, the people you insulted, how good you thought you were at that specific moment in time. That shit painting you thought was so good is likely to be still out there … somewhere and there is nothing you can do about it – sucker! This blog is now ‘out there’ and perhaps a day of regret will soon creep upon you. I was certainly not interested in going back to facebook, reclaim my life that way! Here begins A Digital Suicide, a mammoth task that requires watching your life pass by in front of your eyes, except at a much slower deliberating speed. I am a third of the way through now, printing every page of meta-data onto pink ECG (electrocardiograph) paper and then drawing onto, collaging onto, this paper, my facebook life of images. Every image (almost 1000 images) is handled independently, a page at a time, demanding 30 seconds to 20 minutes, depending on my mood, a particular response to an image. The work is liberating and depressing, where I wasted my time on facebook before, now I spend my time reliving it through the act of drawing. I shall use this blog to share some of those moments, relive them again, we do relive things again and again. My new O2 sim card has just arrived through the post.
‘A Digital Suicide’ is the term that refers to the elimination of one’s information online – namely social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
The project undertaken over the past year and a half, has been the documentation of Liam Scully’s Facebook ‘Digital Suicide’. When you commit “digital suicide” on Facebook, they offer you the opportunity to download your data, just in case you wish to return as you once were. Every single interaction, like, poke, post and private conversation exists inside this data file, pouring over your data will cause both fascination and concern, ” but those conversations were deleted years ago?” so you thought, however it is all there; plain as data. As well as the data, there are photographs, hundreds, possibly thousands, every one you ever posted to facebook, including the ones you deleted.
Liam Scully has embarked on a project over the past year and a half, to reclaim that data, it was important for him to do this in a personal, tiresome, physical way. Every page of meta-data has been printed onto sheets of pink thermal electrocardiograph paper, every photograph ever posted has then been recorded through Liam Scully’s physical act of drawing, collage, mark, rubbing out, spillage and stain; thus rendering the digital analogue and permanent.
The culmination of this body of work, has always been to make a book. A massive book at that, one that is heavy and awkward to hold, but crafted and beautiful. A limited edition of just 3 was an important way of distilling that once vulnerable, personal data, and furnishing it into something of quality and value.
You are invited to the “WAKE” on Friday the 13th November, to celebrate Liam Scully’s life on facebook 2008 – 2013.
We will have the book on display for viewing as well as a limited edition book, “In Loving Memory”, an obituary by friend and art writer Elizabeth Homersham.
A Digital Suicide has been supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Ochre Cola was one of the best exhibitions of 2011 that you probably, definitely, didn’t see. It was tucked away in a basement in East London, and featured rolls of shiny coca cola red paper with primitive scrawls in various shades of ochre paint on top, what’s more there was strange yellow lighting illuminating the works from underneath. Tits, there were loads of tits, as in all good cannibal movie taste.
Inspired by many nights of drinking talking drinking talking in my studio, watching cannibal movies, with Simon Ould, we artists decided it would be the right idea to put on a show called Mountain of the Cannibal God/Goddess aka Ochre Cola. The idea was so hot the show had two titles. It was a good turn out, there was something else going on, a party, so perhaps you was there? The evening’s highlight was a concoction that made the show live up to its name, Ochre Cola! A beverage that consisted of ginger beer, coca cola, ice cream and cheap whisky. There was a queue around the studio complex to get some. In the early hours when everyone went home Simon Ould got mad, he took something to heart, the whole 6ft 4 of Simon Ould tried to flatten me, we fought up from the basement and onto the street, it ended with me on top of Ould, I was screaming, he was laughing, we didn’t talk for about two months.
Ochre Cola, inspired by ‘Mountain of the Cannibal God’ starring Ursula Andress resulted in two grown men (artists) rolling around the floor fighting. I posted the wonderful documentation of this show on facebook, the show looked messy, it was messy but somehow it was an achievement. Of the 39 photographs I posted on facebook I got 0 likes, made me feel pathetic. 4 years later I am reliving these moments for ‘A Digital Suicide’, I must complete 39 drawings I have done 20.