Hayward Gallery

Bruce Asbestos

07 Jan - 01 Mar 2015

Bruce Asbestos
1000 YouTube Videos Uploaded in a Day, 2014
Still from digital video
© Courtesy the artist
A/B Testing
7 January - 1 March 2015

Bruce Asbestos experiments with digital and social media, popular culture, marketing and small-scale production.

An active internet presence is at the core of his practice. Asbestos’ YouTube channel is home to his online TV show, ‘The Social Media Takeaway’, which uses the quick-fix, low-brow, throw-away nature of YouTube as a platform to produce artworks and performances.

To track the effectiveness of emails, web pages and social media, marketers often use a process known as A/B testing, whereby two versions of the same email or webpage are sent for use by a small section of a larger group or mailing list. The most effective design, based on clicks or interaction, is then used for a whole mailing list, or becomes the standard for a particular webpage.

Asbestos uses this method of selection and improvement as a starting point for the new series of open-ended video works, made especially for this exhibition. With YouTube's data and tracking tools, he monitors the behaviour of people watching the videos, using this as a basis for shaping and informing the work.

Incorporating the method of A/B testing and lessons from YouTube's own 'Creator Academy', Asbestos improves the works before and during the exhibition, regularly updating the videos in the space to the latest selection that has been technically, conceptually or aesthetically refined.