You Suck at Photoshop and the aesthetics of attention

One of the many attractions of the You Suck at Photoshop is its visualisation of performance and subjectivity in the form of interaction with software. Juxtaposed with the brilliant vocal performance by Troy Hitch the mouse pointer’s manipulation of Photoshop’s complex devices is a beautiful transformation of flat, 2-D surfaces into a resonant palette of signification. Although the episodes are nominally about instruction – it is addressed to incompetent PS users – this is merely a ruse to draw us into the increasingly desperate world of Donnie Hoyle, whose loneliness and various existential crises seem only to be augmented by the wealth of social networking opportunities his online reputation has brought him. One aspect that the movement and manipulation of the mouse cursor signals is the attention that Donnie is giving to the screen, to what he is doing: it is a visualisation of that attention, and a transformation of it into performance. I’m now searching for academic work in this area since You Suck is certainly not alone as a high quality web serial: refs and advice welcome. And here’s a favourite one:

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