Russian Roulette, the download charm.
The thrill of surprise that materializes in the opening of a gift / box is one of the most exploited images by the marketing professionals, also for its direct effectiveness. Sure enough the ‘unknown’ with pleasing premises build up a fund of expectations that sublimate in a climax, with easy-to-think-about sexual metaphors. These dynamics have their own corresponding electronic reference in the file’s download that embodies many of its characteristics (the wait, the surprise, the gratifying instant). But the download has a crucial peculiarity: the distance (mostly unknown) from where the files are coming and the poor verifiability of their origin. The project Russian Roulette by Carlos Katastrofsky plays with this fascinating and fulfilling aura. It’s a spartan mechanism: from a (unknowable) file archive the user get a random file clicking on the ‘download’ button. One one side it reminds online platforms like FileSwap, on the other side the bubble gum machines. And as it is in cheap thrills, the files’ content is minimal or kitsch, but the downloading charm, that radiates from the act of receiving an unknown file after clicking on a generic button, is still unaltered.