autonomous sensory meridian response

Still from GentleWhispering’s 2014 YouTube video ~ Relaxing Fluffy Towels Folds ~, 26 minutes 14 seconds.

THE THIRTY-FOUR-MINUTE VIDEO opens with a tight shot of rings embedded in a velvet display case. As a softly accented voice describes them one by one, a white woman’s manicured fingers stroke the black fabric of the case and tap gently on the metal bands and stones. The voice and hands belong to Maria, who is not selling these rings but rather providing a specific experience for her viewers known as ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response. A Russian-born expat now residing in the US, Maria is perhaps the most popular practitioner of the growing online phenomenon of ASMR videos; almost eight hundred thousand people subscribe to her YouTube channel, GentleWhispering, and her videos have been watched hundreds of millions of times. In one offering, she counts a stack of greeting cards; in another, she plays with her friend’s hair; in another, she conducts a men’s suit fitting;

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 2016 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.