Insult humor archive, 2012-present
Janks Archive is an ongoing investigation and collection of insult humor from cultures around the world by artists Jerstin Crosby, Ben Kinsley, and Jessica Langley. Insults are an ancient oral tradition embedded within the collective consciousness of a culture or region with inherent ties to human social evolution. While the intention appears, at first, to be antagonistic, “janks” are in fact an integral aspect of human interaction, used as much to establish dominance as to strengthen camaraderie.
This project documents this tradition through crowdsourcing and field recording. We host public collection events in international locations in which we film participants reciting janks from memory and gather contextual information in an attempt to trace origins. Collected material is organized by geographic location and keyword tags, grouping janks by subject matter.
We present this archive through a website and video database, as well as through public exhibitions, screenings, editioned publications, and a podcast.
Documentation from our 2014 Pittsburgh, PA collection
The Eternal Insult is a two-channel video installation that selects videos at random from our global archive and plays them on opposing screens. The result places the viewer in the center of an endless verbal duel and references culturally specific oral traditions such as The Dozens and the Albur of Mexico.