@BruceAsbestos, A/B Testing at Concrete

Putting on an exhibition in a space like Concrete is a bold move considering it is a functioning bar/cafe. Having to navigate around people scoffing gluten free muffins and sipping cappuccinos, whilst trying to take in the art work, isn’t the easiest task but Bruce’s work is not, perhaps, the easiest to understand initially.

The work in the show is web based and the artist is using Youtube,in particular, as the medium.
The title A/B testing is a method used for internet marketing for companies to test which videos, e-flyers, adverts etc are most popular. The technique is to send out two version of the same thing to see which performs better. Usually there are only very slight changes and the results will be worked out by how many likes or hits or views said thing should receive. Now this all sounds quite geeky and hard to get to grips with, if you are not that net savvy, and the way the show is presented doesn’t make it Much easier but the fact I found it confusing spurred me on to delve deeper into Bruce’s Youtube channel; where everything became clear.

His channel consists of thoughtful tutorials explaining his ideas and methods mixed with intense, colourful bursts of internet carnage. All the videos seem to be in duplicate so everything you watch is making you part of Bruce’s A/B test. This gives the work an interactive feel which enables you to get fully immersed in to Bruce’s plight and really understand what he is trying to achieve. In one of the videos he explains his exploration into how these techniques could improve the art which he is creating.

Without explanation the work could quite easily be lumped in with other glitchy web based art but there is much more to it than the post Nu-Rave, ketamine nightmare which is “Post Internet Art”. It is an experiment by an intelligent artist painstakingly developing a unique idea.

I often think that other people wouldn’t want to do what I’m doing and I’m trying to develop the work to the point in which it really has a lot of momentum, that it has so much ambition that it feels somehow a unique cultural event, a spectacle, like seeing Kim Kardashian’s bum for the shoot of Paper magazine, or Jeff Koon’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon, or Takashi Murakami’s Louis Vuitton Bag.”

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The show is on until the 22 Feb @ Concrete which is located next to the Hayward Gallery. It is definitely worth a visit but you should also check out the Youtube channel HERE

About Eric Thorp

Since Graduating from Camberwell College of Art, in 2006, Eric Thorp has worked for contemporary art galleries, creative studios and on exhibitions in London and New York. Since 2010 Eric has worked as a freelance journalist contributing to various magazines and websites including Clash and Leisure.