Artist Inspiration – Jon Rafman

Artist Influence, Artist Influences, Studio, Uncategorized

‘Mainsqueeze’ (2014)

I am very inspired by the work of Jon Rafman, especially the way that he uses found footage to illustrate the different tribes, fetishisms and personalities displayed on the internet. His endless and notorious deep web research allows him to find many different characters on the internet, each with distinctly different internet social groups, and therefore favourite ways of displaying and creating imagery. In his film, ‘Mainsqueeze’, he explores the different social tribes of the internet, and their distinct bodily or sexual fetishisms through seemingly unrelated found footage videos, such as a lobster crushing fetish video, an anime porn film and a video of man crushing a watermelon with his thighs. These strange clips pervade the mind of the viewer, and are at once known and unknown, as we have all seen the shocking and the abject online, whether it be through choice or accident. I am deeply inspired by the use of found footage to display different personalities online, and would like to explore this further, by using found footage in my own film.

I am also inspired by the way that Rafman uses dialogue in the film. All the dialogue is found, and either comes from tumblr blog posts online, or from literature. As such his film, truly speaks with multiple voices, voices of classical literature and voices of the common internet, yet no area of speech is obviously from either category. The language of the internet becomes the poetry of today – love is expressed through a tweet. I am interested in this use of found dialogue, as it speaks with multiple voices, creating a film that is occupied by multiple personalities.


‘Kool-Aid Man in Second Life’ (2009)


I am also interested in the work ‘Kool-Aid Man in Second Life’, as Rafman employs the virtual avatar of the Kool-Aid Man in order to act out his wishes and fantasies online. Kool-Aid Man can be seen in outer space, in the sea and in an airship, as Rafman is allowed to make choices for his avatar, and live out his wished reality, through the online reality of another. This use of a digital avatar, over which you believe to have ultimate control very interesting, and would like to explore this further in my work.

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