TRIBE - CIRCLE addresses digital identity, self-concept and herd behavior. Selected characters from SMACK’s TRIBE population are cast as aristocracy, portrayed in resplendent gold against a regal purple background. Heads held high, they swagger in a perpetual loop, apparently unaware of the reality gap between their behavior and inflated self-image.
Drawing on Van Gogh’s PRISONERS EXERCISING (1890), TRIBE-CIRCLE expresses life in a digital panopticon. As the artists explain, each of these characters is obsessed with their own importance, while “their prison is that they think they’re the elite.” The circle, a recurring motif in SMACK’s creations, expresses the characters’ self-imposed confinement, while the shining floor acts as a giant mirror, creating an echo chamber in which the protagonists see nothing but themselves. Meanwhile, the video’s rhythmic walking pace has a hypnotic effect, suggesting that the viewer is not entirely detached from the scene which unfolds before them.