30 October 2018
My interdisciplinary project, ‘more concerned with feeling than sense’ exploring ASMR’s place in online media culture was recently published in ‘Post it’, a collection of work from Writers-in-Residence for Liverpool Independents Biennial 2018. Below is an extract from the book exploring my project’s conception.
‘Post-it’ can be found in local Liverpool bookshops such as News From Nowhere, or online at the Independents Biennial Etsy store.
In response to YAW artist Sally Slingsby’s The Veneer of Intimacy, which explores the intimate dialogue and customary behaviours expressed through vlogging, Callan’s work turns to a similar yet different subculture on YouTube: ASMR.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a term that describes the pleasant tingling sensation we experience in response to certain audio-visual triggers. The sensation begins in the scalp and travels down the spine, bringing with it a feeling of relaxation. From what is believed to be as early as 2007, an online whisper community grew with the intention of triggering ASMR through unintentional and intentional media. The phenomenon has attracted press and media attention, yet there is a noticeable absence of scientific investigation and criticism into its neurological implications, risks and benefits.
Through the use of seemingly sincere and emotionally raw vlogs, Slingsby investigates public perception through social media and reality and how we find connection through digital means. Contrarily, the ASMR community is devoted to achieving connection through triggering somatic sensation.
Early ASMR techniques involved sharing existing media, such as videos of people concentrating on meticulous tasks. Callan incorporated this technique into his work, creating poetry collages using forum discussions on ASMR, transcripts of popular ASMR videos and critical commentaries. His final poem also functions as a script, that if performed, aims to imitate sounds and vocal affectations typical of popular ASMR media.
The Veneer of Intimacy can be found at: https://www.sallyslingsby.com/