Interview with Stephanie Vidal for Making Contact, 2017

The circulation of images, their capture and collection in a world of display screens, is a recurrent theme in Caroline Delieutraz’s work. ✨ Unboxing + tapping + whisper ✨ with Rikita ASMR (Embedded Files) is the result of a collaboration with Rikita, a young YouTuber who makes ASMR videos. ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is a widespread internet phenomenon that developed in 2008 thanks to YouTube. ASMR was originally practised by a small community of people who had found out that certain auditory and visual stimuli provoked a sensation of well-being that could sometimes culminate in what could be described as a non-sexual orgasm. For example, watching and listening to someone carefully handle an object can trigger the desired effect, known as tingles. The community has steadily grown these past few years. Through trial and error, certain triggers have been identified: whispering, tapping, cracking sounds and many other sub-categories.

Caroline Delieutraz : “The object’s value is determined by it’s potential as a trigger. A seemingly worthless object – a piece of wrapping material for example – can be of great value for ASMR. It is this reversal which interests me. I started by posting my own ASMR video on YouTube to see how it all worked, to understand the customs. My goal wasn’t to replicate ASMR videos, but more to infiltrate its community, and this is why I handed over a series of works (Embedded Files) to Rikita, so that she could ‘activate’ them by revealing their ASMR potential.”

Embedded Files evokes low-tech recording material. It is a collection of objects and images, chosen for their circulation rate and embedded in paraffin wax. Under the guise of a pseudonym, the young woman whispers binaurally into the ears of tens of thousands of internet users. She sometimes performs unboxing that refers to filming oneself opening packages. She describes the Embedded Files as she opens and discovers them, placing each of them in turn over a light box, revealing their contents.

Caroline Delieutraz : “I chose to collaborate with Rikita because she’s in control of her image – she only shows the bottom half of her face in her videos – while still preserving an amateur quality that conveys a certain sensitivity. I suggested a system slightly different from her usual video work, but open enough so that she could adapt to it. I believe she approached our collaboration quite naturally, as part of her practice. Like many actors in her community, she wishes to promote and advocate ASMR.”

By handling Caroline Delieutraz’s work, Rikita makes it sensually slide into the realm of ASMR: the Embedded Files become, like any other object in an ASMR video, a tool whose merit is judged solely on its ability to produce a relaxing sensation, as opposed to an aesthetic one. The artwork crosses over into a new field, just as everyday objects have crossed over into the art field since Duchamp’s found objects, allowing them to be viewed through a different spectrum than usual.

The video is accessible on Rikita’s YouTube channel under the name “ASMR Unboxing artistique – Tapping – Whispering – Ear to ear – EXPO sur Paris”. Under this title it will be viewed beyond the boundaries of the art world, altering its plane of existence.