Lewis Henderson: Vevo, Fuck You!
Written on the occassion of Vevo, Fuck You!, the first solo exhbition of work by Lewis Henderson, presented at the studio provider and project space, The Benevolent Association of Excellent Solutions (B.A.E.S.) in Deptford, South East London.
The creative text focussed on the assumed identity of a now-obsolete Megavideo server as he lamented the fall of his empire and the rise of faster and more alluring predecessors of Vevo, Pirate Bay, JW Player and VLC. The text evoked the friendship and romantic love Megavideo felt for its users as it was slowly resigned from the boardroom of illegal streaming.
“I remember when I was the one they were looking for. I was an entrepreneur. The Chief Exec. Head to toe in pin-stripe and gold plating. Lapelled vest with white-on-blue polka-dot braces and Versace cufflinks. I was your source of entertainment au courant; a trailblazer. Never seen the likes of which before. Impossible to neglect. Burnished-leather loafers adding verve and finesse. I was the original Player. Mr. M. E. G. A. Video. They cast aspersions and character-assassinations. It was scandalum magnatum: the typical defamation casual to most federal objectives. But I kept my back straight and my upper-lip Sisyphean stiff. I was pervasive, the face of the firm—I had to. After all, I was both your reliable friend and your frequent lover. Yet now you barely remember. And now that suit once so immaculate and crisp is emaciated and blemished. The collar coils to the lower neck and the shirt is stained Pinot Noir, the lingering smell of yeasty-perspiration and Old Spice roll-on deodorant still tanging from the seams. And the soles of the Tom Ford’s now flap as I walk the sidewalk, revealing the uncoordinated socks underneath; the mundane and tragic reality of gracelessness manifest in a pair of holey under-garments.
What callous behaviour permitted such a fall from precedence? Was this the malevolent prescription of some hypocritical bureaucratic-clerk? A conservative defence of infringement upon the client’s fourth-quarter investment? Or just like my cellular phone keypad and monophonic ringtones, perhaps I too have become outdated—obsolete. The latest chunk of grey matter to be steam-rolled and framed. Hung-up in a gallery of nostalgic interfaces and logos: reduced to nothing but surface. ‘Part and parcel’ they told me. But now they – the new artists – drag you flailing from your early retirement. They dress you up like some old rockstar gimmick and charge their cattle-prods. Static bolts of electric zap behind you as they force you down the catwalk. Cameras flash in Mexican wave, forming a circular aura of perpetual, infuriating buffering. I was here once before, but it was all so different. What was once a gaze of admiration and respect is now a glare of sincere indifference. An object of both pastiche and parody—ambiguously situated in the contemporary half-way-house of an ostensibly ‘post-post’–modern culture. A brooding troupe of Photoshop formalists picking under their nails and sighing into their iPhones.
Occasionally I’m invited to their penthouse corporate boardroom, as a sort of historical case study; the bastard offspring of the fruits of my labour, secreting silver spoons from their drooling holes. Not so much as even a polite rattle of the saber. All sat in forest-green Chesterfield office chairs—fit with polished chrome base and user-weight tilt tension control—eyes aligned to the 16:9 Celexon Premium InterLink D-P at the head of the room. A tour de force of online consumption. Pure and unhindered. And with a quick wave of Pot Lucker’s selfie-stick the HD-ready pie chart disappears. Except now there’s a bad taste in my mouth. Jay Double-U is climbing his moist-palm up Pirate Bae’s boudoir garter-brace, eyes poised at the green-satin lingerie at its summit, whilst Bon Vevo is busy tonguing Your-Tube’s rouge-lips in the corner of the room. Wetflix looks over and curls her index- finger towards me, as if to say, ‘Stream if you want to go faster, baby.’ I lean towards her spoor when all of a sudden—‘What the fuck is this traffic cone doing here?’