Life

Meet Yung Jake — The Digital Pop Artist Who’s Making Art Out Of The Internet

Yung Jake doesn’t want to break the Internet. But sometimes it feels like he’s trying to.

He released a mind-melting, awe-inspiring interactive HTML5 music video in 2012 called “E.m-bed.de/d.” The video uses pop-up windows to take over your screen, aping the look and feel of a normal browser viewing YouTube, with insane reactions generated at random, based on line-cursor placement. If you’re having trouble imagining what the video looks like, well, don’t feel bad, because E.m-bed.de/d is almost impossible to explain.

In fact, that’s kind of the point.

LA Weekly said that the video “satirizes viral culture.” That description makes sense, but is lacking both in intent and perspective. Yung Jake wasn’t trying to make a statement about the Internet with E.m-bed.de/d, he was just playing with the Internet, he was using the Internet as a pallet, he was doing something that we’ve never seen before.

“I think it’s not like anything people have seen before,” Jake said. “I think the point in making it is showing people you don’t have to do things in a normal way.”

Yung Jake

And, if anything is certain about Yung Jake, it’s that he doesn’t do things the “normal way.” In fact, Jake refused to communicate in any form other than text messages during a recent interview with Complex Magazine, even though Jake and the interviewer were in the same room.

Some people would call that a performance, and maybe they’re right. Jake’s text messaging could be an adopted affectation, but, if it is, it’s one he’s extremely committed to. Yung Jake is making art out of youth culture—out of the culture of the Internet—and it just might be the exact direction that modern art needs to evolve.

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