At times it can seem that the internet has been tamed—that the strange bacteria that once thrived in forums and MMOs and imageboards has now entirely been colonized and categorized and (dismayingly) radicalized. New memes are about memes; new internet celebrities are cannibalized almost as soon as they are created.
Thus, the three-minute short film “Hi Stranger” by Kirsten Lepore is a welcome shot of please-just-watch-it grain-alcohol weirdness. In it, a claymation person with a bulbous, almost baboon-like ass lolls in a seductive moment, whispering soft affirmations directly to you. They lovingly sketch your face through the computer screen, glancing upward and making the sort of direct eye contact that forces you to at first look away, then gaze back, deeply. You feel known by this stranger. The film is self-contained, raising many questions but requiring no answers. All that is left is you and the person, who, you eventually realize, is no stranger at all, but your friend. By the end, the unease in your stomach has been replaced with a sense of warmth, and you realize there’s nothing creepy about the video at all.
Well, except for the lack of a nose. That’s always creepy.