Back before “livestreaming” became the basic human condition, there used to be the animal cams. Viewers could look in on faraway giant pandas or litters of Shiba Inu puppies, keep tabs on an eagle’s nest, and generally commune with natureat least the segment that had cameras parted at it.
In his latest work, a deer strolls in the various regions of the beaches, connections and streets of San Andreas, surrounded by ambient call and ubiquitous car horns. The deer overhears a cell phone conversation. Someone calls the deer a loser. Another person tries to punch the deer.
“You fuckerrrrr, ” the assailant whines.
But his flailing fists come to naught, for the deer cannot be hurt or killed. After assimilating 10 times of abortive pounding, during which era rotates to night, it remains peaceful and still.
The deer is merely an avatar through which we deem the fictional municipality, a commentary on how outrageous “were supposed to” look to animals, with our stupid baseball detonators, our impotent outcries of “Cocksucker! Just get fucked! ” and our cell phonestowhich we are still glued even as we’re marching past a guy engaged in a frantic, one-sided fistfight with a large forest animal.
“The deer has been programmed to self-restraint itself and make its own decisions, with no one actually playing the video game. The deer is playing itself, with all work unscripted and unexpected, ” Watanabe explained.
In a sense, we’re all merely playing ourselves, right?
H/ T Andy Baio | Screengrab via Brent Watanabe