The questions that pop up in the three wall-mounted monitors that constitute Samuel Brzeski’s video installation Has Anyone Ever Cried Anything Other Than Tears? have been culled from Quora, a user-driven net forum where people seek answers to everything from practical trivialities to existential cries of pain, from “What is the easiest, step by step way of getting a six pack?” to “Is it possible to be alone and happy?”. Each question is displayed on the monitor for only a few seconds before being replaced, accompanied by the brutal, heavy rhythms of the soundtrack.
The endless jumble of information archived at websites such as Quora is where you find the collective consciousness of the twenty-first century, and the questions Brzeski has gathered provide a detailed picture of the average user’s dreams, complexes, and fears. With an artistic practice that spans from video installations to performances and recitals, Brzeski tries to carve out a space for empathy, solidarity, and understanding during a time of crisis, apathy, and dejection. SJH