Everything off YouTube is Video Art
October 31, 2009
I recently refuted Virgina Heffernan’s euphoric claim about YouTube’s aesthetic gold (everything is…). Even more recently I speculated that: “(Traditional) video art carries assumptions about method, form, and audience. The term refers to uses of the medium that demonstrate 1) some awareness of previous forms (of art, media, or evidence) and an attendant attention to craft and 2) non-industrial funding, production, and distribution models often in clear defiance to those organizing industrial television, advertising, and film. Authorization needs to occur via display or consumption. Video becomes art when it is vetted, circulated or consumed as such.” What happens to video art seen on YouTube hidden within the mayhem:
So there’s the rub. Video on YouTube (that made by people and not corporations) easily succeeds in criteria 1 and 2. 1) Video on YouTube speaks to the traditions of video on YouTube which mostly speak to conventions of dominant media. And whether it’s “good” or “bad,” people construct it using the craft at their disposal. 2) It is made outside (but eerily congruent to) dominant modes Including video art).
But sitting as it does on YouTube, and thus only authorizable by numbers (of hits) itself a mark of populist mediocrity, and never understood as “art” in the first place, but coming to construction more through a logic of everyday practice, home-production, and consumer-fun, it can only be art if it moves off YouTube.