From the moment YouTube launched, viewers have developed ingenious ways to manipulate the unlimited store of videos contained on the site. See below for a few choice web-based tools-slash-art projects that allow you to do everything from crossfade to add a cascade of blood drops. Feel free to contribute additional links in the comments section.
Art Fag City started their artist essay series, IMG MGMT, again this week with "Zappos Selbstdarstellung" by Joel Holmberg. In this essay, Holmberg considers the corporate culture of the online shoe company Zappos, which encourages the individual expression of its employees through social media outlets, content it then uses to build their overall brand. Holmberg makes the observation that this communal bonding through self-expression is similar to the Selbstdarstellung performances acted out by members of Otto Muehl’s Action Analysis Commune. Here, members were to "reveal one's freest self" through "spontaneous acts of self-representation." What results is "joy-bordering-on-desperation," as members were pushed to test their own boundaries by the larger group. The Zappos example illustrates the contemporary corporate adaptation of psychological practices used in various social experiments from the 1960s and 1970s, a subject elaborated in greater detail by filmmaker Adam Curtis in The Century of the Self.
Recently I took a few months of my free time and decided to recreate Arnold Schoenberg's 1909 op. 11 Drei Klavierstücke (aka Three Piano Pieces) by editing together videos of cats playing pianos downloaded from Youtube. Schoenberg's Op11 is often considered the first piece of "atonal" music, or music to completely break from traditional western harmony which means it's not written in a "key".....This project fuses a few different things I have been interested in lately, mainly "cats", copy & paste net junk, and youtube's tendency in the past few years to host videos that are as good and many times similar to my favorite video artworks. I think all this is somehow related. I'm talking about The Infinite Cat Project, Cats in Sinks, Cat in Fan, Ninja cat comes closer while not moving!, Smart Cat Open Door, Fat Cat VS Small Box, Pussy versus Printer, Edison's The Boxing Cats (Prof. Welton's), It's been a long day, Panta improvising on the piano featuring my cat (my personal favorite cat video), the Ultimate Canon Rock, Sopranos every profanity, The Big Lebowski - Every Single Fucking Dude, Marclay's "hello" supercut, 50 50s, Check out my new stereo - Extreme Bass! (also see Goldstein's "A Glass of Milk" here), Watching the Paint Dry (also see Burt Barr's Watching The Paint Dry series here), even Andy Eating a Hamburger, & Infinite Warhol (you might have noticed we are back 2 the beginning of this list).
Does free video uploading and downloading equal democracy? I asked myself this question during the recent Open Video Conference, organized by the Information Society Project at the Yale Law School and the Open Video Alliance, an umbrella coalition for the development of an “open video ecosystem”: a “movement to promote free expression and innovation in online video.” Conference sponsors include Mozilla, Redhat, Intelligent Television, and Livestream. The conference was held at New York University’s Vanderbilt Hall, home of the NYU Law School from June 19-21, 2009. I attended several of the panels at the conference, although it was primarily Yochai Benkler’s opening keynote that was of concern.
When television stations in the U.S. switched to digital broadcasting last Friday, viewers across the country documented the event and uploaded it to YouTube. There is something curiously surreal about these grainy videos of television screens switching to static, taped in people's homes on cell phones and digital cameras, only to be posted on YouTube moments later. The novelty of their circulation itself - a historic transition from analog to digital television captured on digital video and then transmitted online - speaks to the media environment we inhabit with accidental precision.
David Kraftsow is the artist and programmer behind the Featured Online Artwork for Internet Week YooouuuTuuube, which has been making a splash since it first launched just a few months ago. The site allows users to tile YouTube videos frame-by-frame, with options to resize the frames and even display them as a spiral. I recently spoke with David at greater length about his project. - Ceci Moss
How did you come up with the idea for YooouuuTuuube?
I had wanted to create a program that uses YouTube videos as source material for a long time. At first I didn't really have a very specific idea of how I wanted it to work. It wasn't until I finally sat down and started coding little experiments and prototypes--in order to see what could be done from a technical standpoint--that a final project idea started to emerge.
Have you worked on projects like this before?
Yes, a lot of small things. I wrote a lot of prototype programs that read from YouTube and displayed videos in different ways. I had a bunch of video players including one that selected random videos of tornados and one that played a looping fullscreen video of the game MYST. I also created a more complex version that played lots of assorted videos at the same time in a dynamic grid layout with cross-fading sounds.
What are some of your favorite uses of YooouuuTuuube so far?
- The video where someone figured out how to write Japanese characters is pretty rad: http://yooouuutuuube.com/v/?rows=24&cols;=960&id;=GE2wQNfMcjk&startZoom;=1&showVideo;=1
- This Norman McLaren video: http://yooouuutuuube.com/v/?rows=5&cols;=2880&id;=qJwfeG3Mntk
- This "Alice" video which is by an Australian musician named Pogo has been, by far, the ...!--more-->
Natalie Bookchin is a California based new media artist trained in photography, film history, and theory. Her most recent video installation, Mass Ornament (2009) appropriates YouTube clips of different people dancing alone in their rooms and edits them together in a single-channel video installation. The piece takes its reference points from the classic dance and movement routines of the Tiller Girls, Busby Berkley, and Leni Riefenstahl, filtered through Siegfried Kracauer’s 1927 theory of the mass ornament. Kracauer argued that synchronized acts, such as the Tiller Girls, reflect the mechanized gestured involved in the industrial factory work of a mass society. The installation addresses issues of globalization, post-Fordist economics, and the new forms of visuality and perception they engender. This interview was conducted by Rhizome’s curatorial fellow, Carolyn Kane, in conjunction with Bookchin’s upcoming exhibition of Mass Ornament at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, May 14--Jul 12, 2009.