THE SOCIAL NETWORK
A VIDEO INSTALLATION
"Wei Ting’s final project for Media Practices: The Moving Image was called Social Network and it was the most accomplished piece that she made in my two classes. Social Network was a three-channel video installation reflecting upon contemporary young people and their mediated experiences of the world around them. Her camerawork was very confident and engaging as she filmed images of homeless individuals on the streets of downtown Chicago, both in Cinéma vérité style and with a surveillance aesthetic. These videos formed two of the channels of the installation; for the third channel, Wei Ting created a mock Facebook page presented on a laptop. This provided a social-media-constructed experience of the very real issue of homelessness. Having all three channels together made the audience members question their own relationship to the individual people we all recognized from a block or two away. Once could not help but feel complicit.
I thought Social Network was both subtle and charged. It indicted social media for its superficial relationship to social and political issues, where “liking” a video can be seen as somehow akin to taking a political action to effect actual change. But the direct gaze of her camera also reminded viewers of the complexity of the issue and of our own roles in society and our experiences when walking down the street. It was a compelling work. In this piece, and even in her smaller class assignments, I thought Wei ting set the bar high for her peers."
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Department of Film, Video, New Media and Animation
And Department of Contemporary Practices