<videovortex> http://www.youtube.com/play

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Fri Jun 18 07:33:00 CEST 2010

a response to http://www.youtube.com/play. who else? geert



The Guggenheim’s YouTube Exhibition Play Challenged From The Outset

How out of touch can the art people get? The Guggenheim’s launching a  
new YouTube Biennial dubbed Play for two days this October and the  
museum’s curators have named themselves the web experts and chief  
video selectors. “We’re looking for things we haven’t seen before”  
Nancy Spector, the deputy director and chief curator of the Guggenheim  
Foundation told The Times last week, as if the staff spent most of  
their hours on YouTube. I have a hard time believing the Guggenheim’s  
secretly spent the past decade beefing up on the various web memes and  
amateur videos trafficked across the web. How will the museum’s  
curators be able to recognize a remade meme from years past without  
that experience? How will they be able to spot various web references?  
If the ability to locate art historical citation within art work is  
important, surely an equally rich background in the web is essential.  
[UPDATE: SS asks why assume the videos will have anything to do with  
web culture. They may not, but if they do it won't be spotted by  
staff. Also, the opportunity missed here is all the work that's out  
there to be found].

So far, art media has been predictably myopic in its discussion of the  
announced. Dean of Yale University School of Art, and famed art  quote  
churner Robert Storr told  the Times Carol Vogel what he thought of  
the exhibition, ”Hit-and-run, no-fault encounters between curators and  
artists, works and the public, will never give useful shape to the art  
of the present nor define the viewpoint of institutions.” His  
statement is predictably out of touch with contemporary culture, but  
also not overly relevant. In this instance he’s not an art world  
gatekeeper (contrary to NYMagazine critic Jerry Saltz), just a  
prominent voice with an ill-informed opinion.

The real problem is the museum’s untrained staff, now charged with  
identifying 200 outstanding videos from thousands. According to their  
website, a jury of “experts,” (distinguished artists, filmmakers,  
graphic designers, and musicians) will select up to 20 videos from the  
museum’s initial picks. It’s anyone’s guess who they’ll select —  
hopefully they’ll opt for those with web-expertise — but before they  
get to that stage, I hope they’ll consider working with professionals  
who can give them some guidance. Here are a few names:

Andrew Baron: Founder of Rocketboom, Magma, and Know Your Meme amongst  
other video and meme based websites. Baron holds a Master of Fine Arts  
from Parsons University.

Rex Sorgatz: Founder of Kind of Sorta Media, and former Executive  
Producer of MSNBC.com. Runs the blog fimoculous. Sorgatz has a Masters  
of Digital Media from the University of Washington and has a working  
knowledge and interest in Fine Art.

Joanne McNeil: A renaissance woman of all things Internet. Founding  
editor of the Tomorrow Museum.

Tom Moody: A well known artist and fine art blogger who’s spent the  
last ten years scouring the web for engaging visual material.

Lauren Cornell: Executive Director of Rhizome and Adjunct Curator for  
the New Museum.

Jonah Paretti: Founder of Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, and  
Contagious Media. Worked at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center from  
2000-2005 and has exhibited at the New Museum (though he does not  
consider his work “art”).

Camille Paloque-Berges: PHD Candidate  and Teaching Assistant in  
Information Science and Communication at the Laboratoire Paragraphe  
(Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis). A web connoisseur of the  
highest degree.

12:48 pm // Digg this // Save this to del.icio.us // 5 Comments »

Why assume videos shared via YouTube would necessarily have anything  
to do with Internet culture and “web memes”?

If the Guggenheim’s open call involved artists mailing in DVDs  
instead, would you expect the judges to have expertise about the  
postal  system?

SS // 16 Jun 2010, 1:17 pm
I meant to qualify that assumption in the post, so thanks for pointing  
it out. They don’t necessarily. I guess my feeling is that there’s a  
lot of stuff out there to be found as well as those who might submit,  
so their call really only engages a fraction of the audience it could.

Art Fag City // 16 Jun 2010, 2:03 pm
The whole things smells like ‘American Idol’ to me. Are we already  
seeing the Bravo effect?

ernstwhere // 16 Jun 2010, 3:27 pm
Paddy, the link is broken on the Times story. SS’s “would you expect  
the judges to have expertise about the postal system?” question, while  
sarcastic, gets to whether YouTube is just a delivery system for  
“video art” or whether it’s a culture unto itself that curators  
should  be learning about. The involvement of the YouTube p.r.  
department and Hewlett-Packard, which according to the Times, is  
collaborating on the project “to teach skills like editing, animation  
and lighting to the video-naïve” (yuck) suggests YouTube is being  
thought of in its original, intended, non-vernacular sense as a place  
for video “new talent.” But as William Gibson said, “the street finds  
its own uses for things” and right now it seems to me YouTube is being  
used mostly as a substitute iTunes, with people posting their favorite  
obscure song with a single still image for the consideration of the  
site’s talkative commenters. Likely this and other “pirate” uses of YT– 
such as OAVs or “original anime videos” featuring anime clips recut  
with new music–will not be considered.

tom moody // 16 Jun 2010, 3:56 pm
[...] to submit their favorite web videos for possible inclusion in an  
exhibition at the Guggenheim. Art Fag City’s Paddy Johnson doesn’t  
think too much of the idea. “How out of touch can the art people get?”  
she asks on her blog. The real problem is the [...]

Leading Off: Vaquero For Fort Worth, Producing Superman, and Second  
Thoughts on the Guggenheim’s YouTube Project | FrontRow // 17 Jun  
2010, 10:44 am

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