Patrick LiddellOne year ago, musician Patrick Liddell recorded a brief video of himself describing his mission: to upload a video, rip it from YouTube and re-upload the video 1,000 times. Liddell conceived the idea as an homage to experimental music composer Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting in A Room, whereby Lucier recorded and re-recorded himself speaking a single paragraph over and over. As Liddell says, "I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a digital fact, but more as a way to eliminate all human qualities my speech and image might have." Feel free to debate the philosophical points or just sit back and enjoy the innovative idea.

I Am Sitting in a Video Room 1

As you would expect, the opening video, free from any digital mucking, static or technological intrusion, is a blemish-free Jewel of the Nile; a pristine oasis resting beautifully amid a desert of distortion. Here, Liddell lays out the point of the experiment and shows the control video for the rest of the series.

I Am Sitting in a Video Room 50

By the 50th re-upload, obvious distinctions emerge, but, overall, you can still get the gist of what is being shown and heard. Liddell, though, is a far cry from his original normal look of Civil War re-enactment muttonchops and lime-green party animal shirts. Now, he sounds more like the Mexican drug cartel snitches and identity theft perpetrators that conceal their face and voices when being interviewed by Geraldo. Not scary. Not yet.


Okay, by the time we get to the 500th re-upload, I am more than slightly unnerved. Watch any A&E special or documentary on serial killers and the psychopaths' "home movies" look and sound pretty similar to the below vid. In fact, it's distorted enough that Liddell may have added footage of himself pulling the wings off a butterfly for all we know. At least we can breathe easy knowing there is no way, under any circumstances, that this can get any worse, right?

I Am Sitting in a Video Room 1,000

Make it stop. Please make it stop. I am curled up in the fetal position right now using my covers as a fort, regressing to my special place where this man can't hurt me. By the 1,000th upload, Liddell has transcended human evil into some weird half-lizard, half-human alien hybrid who has patterned his speech after our own but just can't get it right. You get the feeling the 10,000th video is him ripping your heart out through the monitor and eating it while cackling maniacally. As Liddell states on his YouTube page, "The final version is a lot different than I thought it would be. I was expecting a lot more digital video noise and a lot less digital audio noise." As I state right now, "I was expecting a lot more 'Oh, what a fun video to while away a few minutes' and a lot less, 'Mummy, tell me the story about Happy, the elf who loved unicorns, to make Bad Man go away.'"