An active internet presence is at the core of his practice: his online TV show, The Social Media Takeaway, uses the quick-fix, low-brow, throw-away nature of YouTube as a platform to produce artworks and performances.
The effectiveness of emails, web pages and social media are tracked by marketers using a process known as A/B testing. 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 the resulting clicks and interaction, is then used for the 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 series of open-ended video works made for this exhibition. Using YouTube's data and tracking tools he monitors the behaviour of people watching the videos in order to gather information that shapes and informs the work.
Incorporating the method of A/B testing with lessons from YouTube's 'Creator Academy' Asbestos 'improves' the works on show during the dates of this exhibition, regularly replacing them with versions that have been technically, conceptually and aesthetically refined.
Bruce Asbestos was born in Brighton, UK. He completed his MA in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, during which he completed a two month scholarship at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Asbestos currently works in Nottingham with the art collective Reactor and is working towards season three of The Social Media Takeaway.
A/B Testing is curated by Grace Beaumont, Hayward Gallery Administrator.
Concrete at Hayward Gallery
Bruce Asbestos, A/B Testing, 2014. Still from digital video. Courtesy the artist
Wednesday 7 January – Sunday 1 March
7 January 2015, 11:00am - 1 March 2015, 19:00pm