Speaking of YouTube...


Linking without comment for now…


What do video artists make of YouTube? Every minute, 10 hours of video are uploaded to the video-sharing site, which now shows hundreds of millions of videos each day. The place is a mess. Maybe artists should avoid it altogether.

The curator and Internet-art booster Rachel Greene has come up with another suggestion: artists could use YouTube, like a supply store, slag heap or rag-and-bone shop. To make the point, she recently asked a set of art-world figures — Sue de Beer, Matthew Higgs, Matthew Ronay and Wayne Koestenbaum — to present and project their favorite YouTube videos in Manhattan on May 13 at the Kitchen gallery. According to catalog copy for the show, “Artists Using YouTube,” some of the videos on exhibit provide “indirect fodder” for the artists’ own work.

Nigel Ayers May 17 2008 14:57Reply

As a non-elitist artist I likeYouTube very much. I know it's a mess, but this is what happens to any open-access system. For me, it's a natural progression from what some of us attempted to do years ago in mail art and 'zines and should be thought of in that kind of context, as a human communication system that goes beyond what the art-world can do.

For example, you don't have to live in a metropolitan city to access it. The main drawbacks are censorship, copyright issues, corporate crap, and banal information overload. And it's no way to make money.

There are very specific aesthetics about Youtube video. The computer screen gives a kind of intimacy that art-venues don't have. The pixellation and frame rate are important factors.
The fact that there is no selection and that file storage is free means that a form of television is becoming accessible to larger swathes of the population, and you don't have to worry about bandwidth.
And it doesn't have to be art.

I've always liked taking my films & videos out into music venues, to non-art places, nightclubs, artist- run venues. I work on zero budget and my work is often personal and intimate, I value ideas like spontaniety and improvisation. I don't own a plasma screen or a video projector and I don't subscribe to the constant drive for flashy new equipment. I have never found art galleries , or arthouse screenings to be an ideal place to view or display videos.
After producing and distributing video on VHS using mail art and underground music networks, I had many screenings in art-world places (such as Tate, ICA and NFT) in the mid 80s. The meaning of video changes when taken into these art-contexts, I find many of the same corporate and class values are embodied in "the art world" as they are in broadcast TV. Those status concerns are definitely not the reason I make videos.

Bandwidth is expensive. If a non-corporate alternative to YouTube arises, let me know.

So all in all, I think artists should regard YouTube as they should any other medium. It's something you can make art out of, if you want to.




Pall Thayer May 17 2008 22:09Reply

Hi Nigel,
"As a non-elitist artist"… Are you kidding? All artists are elitist. It goes with the territory. There's no such thing as a "non-elitist artist." Just by virtue of calling yourself an "artist", you have joined the elite. Welcome to the club. Enjoy your stay.

Nigel Ayers May 18 2008 07:19Reply

Hi Pall,
I get your drift, but I don't agree. By calling yourself an "artist" you are self-selecting. Although that may make you part of a self-selected "elite" that doesn't mean you have to be "elitist".
Thanks for the welcome to the club, though. Wheres' the bar?

Eric Dymond May 20 2008 02:22Reply

It all reminds me of Virillio's Art As Far As The Eye Can See.
Youtube, ever expanding, filling our screens with information of multiple qualia.
"In a prose piece dating from the year 2001, Louis-Rene
des Forets wrote:' Thought gravitates around the same haunting theme with so little variation that you would swear it was enthralled by this orbital movement, bewitched by it. Yet it nevertheless persists in the hope that its capacity to break out of the circle and take off will be restored to it… the optical error to be avoided being to throw what derives from life at what is its absolute negation - in anticipation of this happening.'
But let's get back to our centrifuge, so useful in training the astronaut to leave the ground.
By dint of copping the 'Gs' of merry-go-round's acceleration, the fatal moment comes when the human Guinea pig suffers what is known as 'blackout' in which he loses sight and faints…
That is where we are at, or almost, in the realm of the culture of sensations. The main sign of this is the extreme infatuation with music to the detriment of the plastic arts. Producing this Stimmungsdemokrotie - democracy of mood - which is taking over the democracy of opinion, where reflection in common once claimed to hold sway over the conditioned reflex."
Are all the vids and media artworks accumulating until we arrive at a blackout state where nothing carries meaning, and everything is loudly important?

panagakos ioannis May 20 2008 09:42Reply

i think that video and photografy can make you a better person, try to find the real art on what you see, youtube has everything and nothing, it depends on what you are lookin for, and what you are lookin for is what you deserve.

Joe Edit May 21 2008 13:34Reply

>and what you are lookin for is what you deserve.
OK Dorothy, give those heels a click and see what happens.

T.Whid May 22 2008 11:00Reply

I was a bit surprised that there were none of the artists we Rhizomers think of when we think of YouTube in this show. But it's nice to get a different perspective on how YouTube is affecting art and artists.

Congrats to Rachel and the artists, but the wide-eyed tone of the reviewer is exasperating. Artists using pop culture?!!! Unheard of!

Didn't the high/low thing vanish a few of decades ago?