Audio excerpt currently unavailable.
Duration: 9 minutes
Dedicated to Boris Abramov, Andrée Martin, Lisa Oberlander & Paul Vaillancourt
Lurid and sensationalist headlines have been around for decades. In print media, we still find these headlines at the checkout counter of our local grocery store. In very large and bold typed letters, we read about alien abductions, conspiracy theories, celebrity gossip and proof that Elvis and JFK are still alive. These types of headlines are written to rouse our curiosity and encourage an impulse purchase. As information has moved into the digital age, the same types of publications have followed us into cyberspace. CLICK BAIT is the term (usually pejorative in nature) describing such content on the web. It is generally understood to mean websites that – like their hard copy cousins in the grocery store – generate advertising revenue almost always at the expense of quality, accuracy or just plain good taste. Once we click on a particularly juicy link, instead of being taken to an article, we are often presented with an endless series of pop-up ads and videos. If we make the mistake of clicking on to one of these links (either by accident or on purpose) we soon find ourselves hopelessly entangled in a seemingly never ending series of ads or additional click bait.
Having fallen into such online traps many times myself, this composition describes – perhaps as some sort of public confession or self-help therapy exercise – my meandering online journey after taking the bait. The work begins with a simple “click” and then proceeds through a dizzying series of “pop-up” themes and variations reminiscent of the descent into online chaos we all know too well. There is a moment at the center of the piece that does try to pull away from the frenetic atmosphere. The music becomes a bit more introspective and is meant to represent my conscience. I know, as I click away on my keyboard, that I am wasting my time. Is it really important for me to view lists of the Top 27 Superhero Movies of All Time or the 10 Most Luxurious Hotels on the Planet? Am I a better person for understanding the 30 Little Known Facts About Star Wars (number seven promising to really surprise me)? Instead of being edified, I end up feeling a little guilty and ashamed for being so easily lured into the seedier corners of cyberspace. However, this moment of clarity is not lasting. In the end, the music falls back into its restless and chaotic nature in much the same way I always seem to fall back into my predictable online pattern. The piece ends as it began, with the music bouncing discursively from “link” to “link” in the same manner that I click on provocative headlines continuously popping up in my social media feeds.