It is practically impossible to articulate why I find YouTube haul videos so captivating. Perched on duvets in girlish bedrooms, brandishing brown bags of Penneys’ basics (there’s probably no real need to show us three of the same plain vest top in different colours), they lure us in. And I watch and consume these videos in a dreamy haze, not really enticed to buy the stuff, but enticed to watch another video. I can’t say what it is about them exactly, but surely, it must be something to do with the intoxicating blend of new technologies and consumerism that the haul video incorporates; a twenty-first century phantasmagoria where the highstreet meets the webcam.
Or maybe, I just like stuff. I like stuff taken out of bags and displayed. And folded back up again. The organised spectacle of it all. At its core, the haul video is unashamedly comforting: here’s someone bearing their soul (well…), opening up to you about what they bought, and then encouraging you to buy it/not to buy it. An intimate heart-to-heart shared with hundreds, thousands even if you’re lucky.
In late November, I went to London, bought some stuff, arranged it on my bed and photographed it. This is my version of the haul video – minus the chat.
Clockwise: O32C with Rihanna, Zine on German culture, Verfreundungseffekt bought at the ICA, Canvas bag with the drawing Edith Schiele on her deathbed by Egon Schiele from the Portrait in Vienna 1900 exhibition at the National Gallery, Postcard of Adele Bloch Bauer II by Gustav Klimt from the same exhibition, Heroines by Kate Zambreno, The Vanity of Small Differences by Grayson Perry and Suzanne Moore, featuring pull-outs of Perry’s tapestries and musings on the idiosyncrasies of modern society.