A Series of 'Tubes

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Constant Dullaart's series "YouTube as Subject" plays with the image of the arrow-in-a-square button that appears in an embedded YouTube video. When clicked, Dullaart's videos retain their initial black backgrounds, but the arrow-buttons remain, plummeting, strobing, trembling, or turning into a mini-disco light show. In true YouTube spirit, Ben Coonley recently posted his own series as response, this time appropriating the spinning wheel of dots that eager viewers need to sit through as a video loads—in keeping with his longstanding interest in media breakdowns and frustrations. Coonley's dot-wheel now drifts off into the distance, accelerates rotation, and (betraying Coonley's Providence-scene roots) expands into a psychedelic black-and-white OpArt swirl. Better not put off watching Dullaart and Coonley's 'tubed conversation, however. Cory Arcangel's Blue Tube, made only last year, has quickly become near-obsolete. Back then, YouTube embedded a logo bug in the corner of its videos, and Blue Tube simply turned that logo blue. Now, however, after its host site's redesign, it doesn't always function in quite the right way. Who knows how long our friends arrow-button and spinning-wheel-thingy will last? - Ed Halter

Image: Constant Dullaart, "YouTube Disco" from the series "YouTube as Subject", 2008