Action Potential (2016) by Jacob Love

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“Action Potential
Jacob Love
12min 19sec

This is a single screen iteration of a work in progress intended for multi channel installation

A work that uses photochemical film and digital video to look at the ways the human body interacts and adapts to changing technology and the effects this may have on human relationships. Looking specifically at the mental states of people presenting with symptoms of ADHD and those who use chemical drugs to lubricate social/sexual interaction or chemsex. Both of these different states serve to multiply desire and excitement whilst denying satisfaction.

The films look at the point at which the physical, chemical and mechanical world of machines, bodies and film grain, meets the intangible, digital world of data, pixels and online communication. Where reality meets fantasy. As more of the content of our lived experienced begins to inhabit the digital world where does that leave the reality of our bodies? Our brains reward systems evolved in a reality that required full and prolonged physical engagement to produce a payoff. Now the power of digital communication provides external rewards on demand and chemicals are available to enhance the rewards our own bodies can create. Where does this leave arguably one of the most powerful sources or reward: Love?

Sections of 16mm film used in the work were had processed and the ‘chems’ used in chemsex parties and also medication designed to counteract the symptoms ofADHD were added. These drugs interacted with the photographic developer and affected how the image appeared on the film.

A short digital video clip shot on someone’s mobile phone of guys fucking is repeatedly used and broken down within the piece. The video is typical of imagery created and shared online to mobilise and organise chemsex. Through repetition and mirroring the imagery is rendered as a pattern. The complex symmetry references x-ray crystallography, the process used to visualise molecules (including hormones and neurotransmitters) that are too small to be seen by any lens. Repetition is a key way in which meaning is created. The repetition has a hypnotic effect, which mirrors both the constant review of similar imagery via the digital platforms and the altered states induced by the chems. The use of emoji symbols also references the aesthetics of the online cruising platforms, where forbidden words that relate to drugs and condomless sex often represented with emoji.”