Oh do I have a spicy one for you clowns this morning.
Whenever my wife has time to chill out at home, she watches alot of art documenteries. You know what I mean. The kind of things they have on the discovery channel or the BBC. I dont care for these things. In fact, I’m usually on youtube or twitch whenever she is watching her stuff.
No different with last night. I am watching the last episode of Ernest Roulette when she hits pause, throws the remote to the ground, and screams “THE SHIT IS NOT REAL.”
She had just watched a new acquistion on Netflix called Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable. The description of the documentary on netflix looks like this.
Did you see it? My wife missed it. But did you? Maybe the trailer would help…
Did that help?
Seems like a story about a guy funding an expedition to fish all this art from this ship wreck. And thats the documentary. Standard art fair. “Oh look at this amazing shipwreck filled with art that we found.” Talking heads from universities talking about the finds. Discussion of the coral growing on the art. All well and good.
Then in the last five minutes, the final piece is pulled out of the water and its this:
So, it turns out the whole thing is fake. Its part of a modern art exhibit from this artist who is famous in the UK for being kind of a dickhead. The art exhibit itself feels really like a modern art piece. And I skimmed through the documentary, and the only way you would know its fake is cause it looks kind of cheap. The whole thing looks kind of cheap.
But what I am interested here is Netflix. The only way you would know this is a Mockumentary is if you managed to look at the genres. The description doesnt key into it. IMDB’s description of the piece reads as follows: “The fake story of the art found beneath the depths of the ocean from a 2,000 year old ship wreck. Damien Hirst and the crew recount the moments various discoveries are made, the myths and legends surrounding the find.”
So this leads me to the philasophical point of the thing. Is Netflix trolling its userbase? Like there are tons of these actual Art documenteries, and I think what my wife is pissed at is being duped. I think she thought she was learning something and its a troll. This kind of thing is common in modern art, see also Banksy:
But you sort of expect this cause its Banksy, right? This is the kind of stuff hes famous for. If you buy a Banksy piece, you may as well expect it to expload.
However, because the guy who made Wreck of the Unbelievable is an unknown quantity in the US, he is totally getting away with trolling the uninformed by releasing it on Netflix with no knowledge of it being an actual exhibit.
This leads to the overall question. Is a troll, regardless of how fancy, just a troll? Like I have studied enough art to know this guy is making a commentary on how precious we find narratives about art. How we invest alot of meaning in something that maybe shouldnt? I get all that.
What about Netflix? Is Netflix just trolling people now? This feels like a bad idea from a consumer prespective.
Hell, I know I had a bad night as a result. My wife was some pissed, and now feels like she has to google everything on Netflix first, which I doubt was their intention.
I dont really have an opinion here. I understand the point of view of both the fox and the hound in this. There is just something about this that facinates me. Because I didnt think Netflix had it in them to go full troll.
That is all.