Monday, September 26, 2011

Salad Fingers

Salad Fingers Episode 2: Friends
David Firth, 2008

The link leads you to the second episode of a series of web-based comics called Salad Fingers. It is not at all necessary to watch the first episode in order to understand the second, because Salad Fingers makes no real sense no matter how much of it you've seen. I choose this episode because I think it best encapsulates the tone and composition of the entire series, and also because it is the most disturbing episode.

The first question most people have when watching Salad Fingers is, what is this? The simplest answer is that Salad Fingers is process art. It is strongly implied throughout the authors materials that all of his works are made under the influence of acid. Salad Fingers is a trip through one man's bad trip. But why would a video that is a simulation of a bad trip get 8 million views on Youtube?

I think that Salad Fingers is interesting because it reveals the way the online forms of film distribution tend to reward videos that are singular. Salad Fingers, in spite of any critique you might make of it, is not really like anything else that the average viewer has ever watched. Its like a point of view video of someone who is completely insane. It is worth noting that this episode is the only instance in Salad Fingers where a person appears to be normal, and they get cooked. The video series asks us to accept a character in Salad Fingers himself you is obviously a complete maniac as our anchor in watching this. It makes no narrative sense, and most of the design is intended to be as off-putting as possible. This is not a film that should be popular.

But Salad Fingers is popular, because it is singular. It is one man's twisted vision and that makes it interesting. And in an internet environment that gives you a million options all competing for your attention at once, something truly interesting, something that you can not stop watching, becomes a masterpiece of the form. Whatever you think of Salad Fingers, once you start watching it is hard to look away, and in the environment that it was created in and for, that is a triumph.


Lauren Hellendall said...

Before I say anything else - HELL YES. I'm so glad you put up Salad Fingers because that film(?) deserves to be discussed. What an awesomely disturbing thing to experience. I agree that this is great because its singular. Capturing the authors perspective in such a cosmic way makes it the fantastic thing that it is.

Jacob Goldstein said...

I agree with you Lauren, Salad Fingers is great, which is something that I may not have gotten across in my post. I like the word cosmic to describe it also. There is something ind of implacable about it that could be called cosmic.

haley schattner said...

I have never heard of this series before so thank you for sharing it with me. It is truly disturbing, and very well done. I like how, as an ode to horror films, the normal person that is cooked, is wearing a letter-jacket. Jocks are usually the first to go in a horror film, if the token minority kid does not exist.

K. Tyler Christensen said...

Jacob you tap into the idea of singularity, which is key. The voice of the filmmaker comes through, making this piece incredibly unique. Though, if I'm being honest-- I didn't care for it. I'm not a purist, but I have a difficult time respecting art made under the influence of drugs-- that to me is not unique. That's where the filmmaker loses some of his voice. But, yes you are right, Salad Fingers is popular in its realm as a result of its singularity.