JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE | NICK DENBOER
Just Another Day at the Office (2021) is the second video presented within the program RABBIT HOLE curate by Gemma Fantacci. DIGITAL VIDEO WALL is an annual project structured in thematic chapters, aimed at promoting the dissemination and experimentation of digital art.
The first screening features the work of Nick DenBoer, Just Another Day at the Office (2021, VIDEO, MP4). DenBoer is a Canadian video artist, director, editor, VFX artist, remixer, and music producer, with a unique, often irreverent and grotesque visual style, who uses both video and a vast plethora of visual effects to create audiovisual contents that employ remix and appropriation techniques to create surreal, absurd, off-kilter scenes. The aesthetic of Nick DenBoer, aka Smearballs, draws from numerous influences, primarily the remix culture specific to the Internet, but also pop and video game culture, and is marked by a scratchy, acidic, strange, even puzzling style. DenBoer’s artistic production throws in the face of the viewer the distortions of contemporary society and the exaggerated modes of media consumption in an utterly ironic, twisted, strange, uncanny key, as Mark Tribe would say. His videos are Frankensteinian creatures, a complex assemblage of found footage, video, photography, 3D models, textures, music, and sound fx, wherewith he maps how popular culture moves between memes, shorts, trends, Internet phenomena, and clichés, in a surgically perfect manner.
Just Another Day at the Office is a “rotating window on the modern workplace,” as the artist himself calls it, created as an NFT and running for two minutes, the time it takes, according to DenBoer, to appreciate all the details in the scene. In this loop, the viewer’s gaze is catalyzed at the intersection of four cubicles – those micro spaces typical of American offices and often recurring in movies and TV series in which the office or the corporate life is the main setting, and each of them is inhabited by a character totally out of his or her mind, a stereotype of the “office life” taken to the extreme. In Just Another Day at the Office, chaos prevails: in one cubicle there is the stereotypical office creep, almost totally naked, using the photocopier to morbidly photocopy his private parts; in another there seems to be a security manager, or a wild gamer wearing a virtual reality visor, dancing on the DANCE DANCE video game platform and plugged into a gaming PC; there is also the neat freak, perhaps a typical Karen, with a neat, strictly pink desk, post-it notes everywhere so she doesn’t forget the slightest detail, who cares about being celebrated by the entire office on her birthday but at the same time smashes her face against the birthday cake. Perhaps an attack of office burnout? Finally, the absurd of the absurd: a cubicle inhabited by a toilet with an alien-like tentacle emerging from the bottom and lots of toilet paper rolls scattered around it. These 4 microcosms are surrounded by boxes, a dead mouse, golf clubs, crumpled cups, a keg of beer, all those clichés that are part of the office life – the show The Office is a striking example – and its stereotypes, and that in DenBoer’s work are merged together in a grotesque, hilarious, extreme abyss that is endlessly repeated. Even the soundtrack that accompanies the work is an electronic loop that enhances the irreverence of a narrative that mirrors an everyday life that seems to have no way out: the theme of office life has spawned a multitude of memes that, especially after the pandemic, have underscored the problematic nature of toxic, harassing, even exasperating dynamics. A well-established vicious cycle from which we attempt to escape.
© Nick DenBoer, Just Another Day at the Office, 2021, Courtesy the artist
Digital Video Wall
Metronom | via Carteria 10 | 41121 Modena
6th December 2022 – 10th January 2023