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9/4/2016

Attraction,Repulsion,Rage|JonRafmansMainsqueezeDISMagazine

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Attraction,Repulsion,Rage|JonRafmansMainsqueezeDISMagazine

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Attraction,Repulsion,Rage|JonRafmansMainsqueeze
Keywords:4chan,amandigging,attraction,DomenicoQuaranta,foundfootage,JON
RAFMAN,jonrafmandismagazine,mainsqueeze,onlinesubculture,plymouthrock,
repulsion,TheContemporaryArtMuseum,TheEndisTheEndisTheEnd,Video,zurich
JonRafmanexploresthedeep,dark,uncomfortablewebinlatestwork,Mainsqueeze.

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9/4/2016

Attraction,Repulsion,Rage|JonRafmansMainsqueezeDISMagazine

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Hundredsofpeoplestuckinagiantswimmingpoolpassivelyfloatingtotherhythmof
artificialwaves.Thepoorresolutionofthefoundfootagemuddlesthemintoacontextless
andfacelesscrowd.Nobodytriestoescapethecrowd,orgoagainstthecurrent.Theyare
trappedbuthappyenough.ItslikeDantesInfernobutwithoutthedrama.Justthepeople

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9/4/2016

Attraction,Repulsion,Rage|JonRafmansMainsqueezeDISMagazine

floatinginthemud.

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ThefinalsceneofMainsqueezecapturesacontemporaryatmosphereormoodwhichsets
thepresentasatimeoutofjoint,encapsulatedbythewashingmachinethattearsitselfapart
overthecourseofthefilm.Rafmanposesthepresentescapefromtherealtowardsthe
simulatedastheresultofageneralfeelingofturmoilthatleadstoflightratherthanrevolt.In
thevideo,thefirstreadablelineoftextiswrittenontheforeheadofasleepingdrunkmanat
thebeginningofthefilm:LOSER.Hesmiles,andweareledtowonderwhotheloser
reallyis.

YetRafmanisnotmakingaparticularethicalstatement:Mainsqueezeexpressesamoral
conditionoratmospherewithoutmakingamoraljudgment.Igravitatetowardscommunities
like4chanbecauseIseeinthemacompellingmixofattractionandrepulsion.This
ambivalenceisreflectedinthecurrentculturalmoment.

Surfingthedeepweb,Rafmancollects,orders,observes,andmakeshissourcematerial
visibletous:Mainsqueezeisentirelycomposedoffootagefoundthroughmyonline
explorations.Thevoiceovertextisacombinationofmodifiedquotesfromliterature,
Tumblr,andcommentsonvariousmessageboards.Ifeellessofaneedtocreateoriginal
materialfromscratchduetothesheerabundanceofmaterialoutintheworldtoworkwith.
Thecraftisfoundinthesearching,selectingorcurating,andeditingtogetherofthematerials
pulledfromfarflungcornersoftheweb.Yet,heinsistsitisnotaboutfetishtourismor
shockingpeopleaboutwhatexistsinthedarkcornersofthenet,rather,Iamgivingthe
sourcedmaterialapoetictreatment.

Rafmanassumes,andinturninvitesustoassume,adifficultposition:heissimultaneously
thedrunkman,theonewhopaintshisfaceandtheonepasserbywhothinkstheyareboth
stoned.Sometimeshehimselfindulgesindegradation,andweasviewersareequally
implicated.

Anoriginaluseofvoiceovercontributestothissenseofviewerinvolvement.Itisused
neithertogenerateempathynortosignifyacompletealterity(aswhensynthesizedvoicesare
used).RafmanexplainsthatThisparticulartonecameaboutthroughexperimentingwitha
montageofawiderangeofmaterialmomentsofphilosophicalepiphany,pseudointellectual
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9/4/2016

Attraction,Repulsion,Rage|JonRafmansMainsqueezeDISMagazine

quotesfromtumblr,banalconfessionalmessageboards,commentsfromredditthreads,etc.
InMainsqueeze,thismontageisturnedintoaprofoundyetfamiliarvoicethatoften
addressestheviewerdirectly,draggingyouintotheworlddepictedonscreen.Letyourself
in.

Rafmansfirstsolomuseumexhibition,TheEndisTheEndisTheEndiscurrentlyrunning
fromnowuntilAug10,atTheContemporaryArtMuseum,StLouis.

DomenicoQuaranta

DomenicoQuaranta
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Like 1.6Kpeoplelikethis.Bethefirstofyourfriends.

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Attraction,Repulsion,Rage|JonRafmansMainsqueezeDISMagazine

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