The Artist Moving (through) the Web @ Video Vortex

On: October 7, 2007
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About Esther Weltevrede
Esther Weltevrede is a second year Media Studies Research Master student at the University of Amsterdam. Before studying New Media she attended the School of Arts in Breda where she received a Bachelor degree in Graphic Design. She is involved as researcher and coordinator in the recently founded Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam. DMI is dedicated to developing tools and methods for researching the ‘natively digital.’ Since this summer she is a member of GovComOrg, a foundation dedicated to creating and hosting political tools on the Web. Currently she is a part-time teacher Information Visualization at Master Editorial Design, Utrecht School of Art, and part-time teacher Public Design at Interactive Media, Hogeschool van Amsterdam.


Ruschmeyer @ Video Vortex

German video maker Simon Ruschmeyer explores the borderline areas between traditional audiovisual narration and the new possibilities given by interactivity and networked communication. He explores this interface between classical moving media (film/video) and new interactive forms (web/media art) both in theory and in practice. Ruschmeyer has realized many video projects and has recently finished his paper “The moving Web – Forms and Functions of Moving Images on the Web.” At Video Vortex Ruschmeyer talks about The Artist Moving (through) the Web – New Forms of Artist Production and Distribution on the Web. The two topics he addresses are moving web video characteristics and the artist 2.0. In relation to the subtitle of this conference, Responses to YouTube, Ruschmeyer addresses the significance of YouTube by focusing on the artist.

The moving web – web video characteristics
The main focus in this section lies on authenticity and how commercial enterprises and artist make use of this web video characteristic. Ruschmeyer shows a number of examples of what he calls “authenticity” in moving images. The first examples he shows are from commercial enterprises. One is from consulting company Accenture searching for new employees. To give some sort of authenticity to the company, they provide you idea of working ethics of the company and atmosphere.

Another example is the video blogging of Lonely Girl 15. After she had gained popularity it became known that she was an actress. Although this turned out to be commercial, Ruschmeyer argues it is authentic because the vlog uses a personal style, such as addressing the viewer directly by looking straight into the camera.

Lonely Girl 15

He also shows some examples of artists playing with the authentic characteristics of YouTube videos. An example is Dennis Knopf’s response to “bootyclipse.” It makes use of a trend on YouTube where girls show their dancing skills such as “indian booty dance.” Knopf removes the girl, leaving only the context of the bedroom, uncovering the aesthetics of these kind of movies.

Moderator Sabine Niederer questions if the first two examples are “authentic.” She would rather qualify them as “hoax authenticity.” A sort of style adopted by commercial enterprises. How do we deal with that? Ruschmeyer says that this is exactly the question. It’s about artists versus the commercial industry who are deceiving the audience, both make use of the “authentic” characteristic of YouTube videos. The audience does however like to be deceived by this authentic style. Lonely girl for instance, became an even bigger success after it became known she was fake.The artist 2.0
The second part of his talk focuses on the artist, addressing the production and distribution side of the moving web. An example of an artist 2.0 project responds to the popularity of user generated content websites. Christian Marc Schmidt’s “driving” collected and reused different shots of people driving. Why are people uploading a movie of “going to my mother’s house”? People have different reasons for uploading moving images to YouTube or Google Video. This particular project addresses this, as this quote from Schmidt illustrates:”The result is a commentary on the construct and use of space as defined by the path—told through the lenses of individual agents, acting independently, yet brought together by means of a single, external objective and curatorial intent.” Secondly, he addresses how networked communication changes distribution of videos. How is cinema, as an art form and experience, influenced by the development of widely spreading internet practices? The relationships with the audience have become symbiotic. An example is Four Eyed Monsters. The way this movie came into existence is especially interesting considering how the authors interacted with the audience. The authors had a video podcast on making a film. This was not only about the film but the relationship between authors. The film almost made them break up. When they realized how the fans suffered with the artists, the authors quickly realized the possibilities. They asked the fans who wanted to see film and mapped it:Four Eyed Monster MapThe movie became an enormous success by making use of networked communication sites, as can be read in Wired:

Toward the end of Four Eyed Monsters, Arin Crumley and Susan Buice get a phone call from YouTube congratulating them for becoming the first filmmakers to land a feature-length narrative on the site.

The autobiographical movie, financed with $100,000 on credit cards, runs 71 minutes and has been viewed more than a half million times since it was posted on YouTube last week. The drama follows the couple’s unusual dating rituals, as they abandon typical small talk and resort to writing each other paper notes.

The genius part: In the past week alone, Crumley and Buice say they’ve earned more than $20,000 in referral payments from sponsor, a movie rate-and-review site that’s giving the filmmakers $1 for each new recommendation for Monsters made by a site visitor.

View the full feature movie:

Watch Section 2 on MySpace TVWatch Section 3 on MySpaceTV

Buy the Four Eyed Monsters DVD which also includes episodes 1 to 8
Watch Section 2 | Watch Section 2
See the story of the film created in Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8Four Eyed Monsters worked with Withoutabox. Withoutabox is a worldwide online-media company dedicated to advancing independent film. Their site offers an entire suite of online tools that empower filmmakers and other content creators in the distribution and monetization of their movies. It is a special interest community that works with critical mass ticketing. The voting routines on withoutabox can be used as a quality meter for festivals or industry. This changes the relation artist-audience-industry by bringing them closer together.To see more articles and projects dealing with all forms of moving content on the Web, visit the blog Movingweb. They are looking for new contributors, so if you’re interested in contributing write them an email.

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