Dolly Sen’s digital masterpiece

a screen shot of Nutter TV - a simple graphic on a blue background, part of a tube map. A word 'listen' is scrawled underneath.You can see we are asking everyone connected with Short Circuit for their digital masterpieces, we’re working through our list slowly – no hurry. It’s always great to see the range and diversity of what inspires people. This is Dolly Sen’s choice:

“I guess the one that had the most impact isn’t online any more, but it was Chas de Swiet’s Nutter TV, which was a online gaming experiment, where normal street scenes can be seen through the eyes of someone with psychosis, so wording on signs change, you feel the oppression and paranoia of CCTV camera, and hear voices, and the more chilling out activities you do, the less powerful the experience got. It came out a good few years ago, but I still remember it quite well, and was one of the first pieces of art I showed people if they wanted to know what psychosis felt like, but more importantly how you can take control of your experience. It was a very emotive experience for people, both those who had psychosis and those who didn’t. It was powerful because the heart controlled the game..”

Here is a link of Chas talking about it on BBC Ouch – really worth a listen. And there is an in-depth interview with Chas talking about the project here too. In this article he describes the game:

The site begins light-heartedly, with a screen where the player can mix their own drum ‘n’ bass track using the sounds of a tube train. “It shows how tube noise can sound like drum ‘n’ bass if you’re in an altered state – it’s an experience I’ve had, and that lots of non-mad people have had coming out of clubs,” explains Chas. The player can then click on a tube map, which takes them to the Centrepoint building on Tottenham Court Road, where a big air conditioning duct is humming. The noise coming from the duct is mingled with the sounds of a choir, the intensity of which alters according to how close the viewer moves towards it. “Again, this was something that happened to me when I was walking down the street late at night,” says Chas. “I thought I heard an ethereal choir and tried to see where it was coming from.” The experience suggests how the mind in an altered state can transform the everyday world into something quite beautiful. “The general vibe of the website is quite scary. But I wanted to show that some of these situations can be quite positive,” says Chas. “It can be something interesting, gradual, not all a nightmarish experience. In a city like London, a lot of people have had that kind of thing happen. But it’s happened to me in the country too – once I heard this amazing didgeridoo playing, but when I went to investigate, I found it was just a gurgle from a septic tank!”

Its a shame Nutter TV isn’t available online any more, but Dolly isn’t put off by this, she’s coming along to Short Circuit with a whole list of options to explore. My personal favourite is her idea: THE INTERNET IS MAD

“I want to make the internet have a breakdown, to hallucinate and have usual thinking and ideas. To be paranoid and think people are watching them  and inserting thoughts into its mind. I want it to have thought disorder. I want it to be sectioned and forcibly restrained and medicated. I want it to have side effects, like slowed thought, blurred vision, and drooling.”

I just can’t wait to see what Dolly (and everyone else) comes up with – over the weekend and beyond, even if that causes the internet to have a breakdown!

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