The Niche Submission
Y'all Look Hungry
Y’all Look Hungry explores Western society’s relationship with the screen. In our homes, the screen offers an endless stream of pictures that mediate our relationships to one another and to events around the world. As pixels increase, the screen becomes so sharp, saturated, and dynamic that it may seem more desirable than the natural world. The screen helps fuel an economy where use value has disintegrated. It hosts advertisements, sometimes subtle and other times blatant, that enforce a lack within us while offering an endless stream of products that promise to bring us joy.
Y'all Look Hungry is a looping 30-minute cliché high-definition video of a blue summer sky with clouds, an image like the one on the box that contained my television when it was purchased. The video runs on a continuous loop on an high definition screen. By mimicking the imagery on the box, the screen advertises itself and present viewers with an attractive, manufactured, consumable representation of the outside world.
Tiny, white blimps interrupt the sublime image on the screen. Invented in 1850, the blimp became useful to the US Navy during World War because it could protect ships and spot submarines by traveling at a very slow rate above the ocean. Today, many companies take advantage of the blimp’s slow movement to display advertisements across the sky. The Y’all Look Hungry blimps display slogans appropriated from advertisements, such as “Can’t live without it!”, “You deserve more!”, "Y'all Look Hungry", or simply, “Enjoy!” These slogans are stripped of product. They command enjoyment, point towards a lack in the viewer, and allude to some object or experience that may alleviate desire.
Y’all Look Hungry transforms the way the screen is typically viewed, placing the viewer in a more active and thoughtful relationship to a familiar object. Instead of a stream of images, the television hosts a vaporous, hyperreal representation of the outside world. By removing the product and playing with the scale, viewers are forced to reconsider advertisement slogans to which they may have grown accustomed. The viewer is left to contemplate his or her own desire in relation to the screen, imagery, and tiny statements.
This is an animation example (you may download from Vimeo if the HD quality example runs slow on your device):
Here is a screen detail (you may download from Vimeo if the HD quality example runs slow on your device):
Kate Shannon is an Assistant Professor of Art at The Ohio State University's Mansfield Campus where she teaches new media courses and is the curator of the Pearl Conard Art Gallery. Shannon has exhibited her work nationally, most recently at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, and Texas Woman's University. She has published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society and in The Brooklyn Review, an annual publication of the M. F .A. Programs at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Shannon received her BFA in Photography from The University of Kentucky and her MFA in Photography from The Ohio State University.