Video vortex; video slamming

On: January 21, 2008
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About Tjerk Timan
During the last couple of years, I have been involved in Industrial Design at the Technical University of Eindhoven, both on the theoretical as well as the physical/practical side, always working on the boarder between the digital and physical. After an internship at Mediamatic, I wanted to get more involved in the digital side of new media. Currently, I am investigating the complex realm of new media [at] the master course New Media, UvA. With a thesis focus now on ‘objects that blog’ within the context of an internet of things, the challenge is to investigate the agency and influence of things. Especially when these things, being digital or physical, are capable of sharing, posting, editing, deleting content. And on who’s account? Within that same line of thought, the digital is often taking itself for granted maybe too much, where often the step towards WHO and HOW data is manipulated is left out of the loop. Taking these things back into the (design) loop is one of my missions, with the statement in mind that the way content is created and consumed has at least as much importance as the technology driving it. Furthermore, I am currently active within the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam. Also, I do some occasional freelance work, where disciplines differ from web-design to workshops to product design.


The closing session of the conference was named video slamming and consisted of screening famous youTube favorites, interviews with video performers Emile Zile Sam Nemeth, Tatiana de la O, and Rosa Menkman and the actual video performances. All this hosted and mc-ed by Sabine Niederer and Michael Stevenson.
Stevenson kicked off the session by raising the question whether youTube has an added value?
Most youTube movies are watched secretly during office hours, in cubicles. But is this not also working, being productive, but in another fashion? The movies shown prove this point. An added value within this context of collective watching, not secretly in your office cubicle, but in a kind of cinema-theater setting.

This worked out really well (good idea for cinemas struggling to get visitors; just show YouTube favorites!). Below a picture of the first movie, of course about cats.

a full list of the movies shown can be found here:
Its oh so quiet Bjork/Cats
zzz is playing grip
Two Girls one cup reaction + commentary
Goto80 Pilgrims Progress
Flying Dog
Blonde Redhead/Miranda July
Two Girls one cup reaction 2
zizek toilet ideology
Kant attack ad
Human Tetris performance
Scorcese and Hitchcock Key to Reserva
Dramatic hamster
Philippines Thriller
aphex twin and Maya Deren
Chris Crocker Leave Britney Alone
Lass Gjertsen – amateur
Dog mix

(thanks Michael and all the contributers for sending in your favorites!)

After this very entertaining session and a short break, the upcoming video performers were interviewed.
First up was Emile Zile. The story behind his performance is a thorough research into shared pictures and movies of the deceased. On sites like Flickr and YouTube, he searched for keywords “miss you” or ” missing you” and showed the pictures on the song “I’ll be missing you”, by Puff Daddy (which is of course originally from Sting).

Next to be interviewed was Sam Nemeth from the Waag Society, He showed some of the first interviews via live web video as one of the many research projects the Waag is into. Nemeth stated the importance of working these technologies and alternative forms of video for both artists and viewers.

Tatiana de la O, who also presented earlier that day on the conference, explained her self-programmed video- slamming application. She used the open-source visual programming platform called PureData Her main drive being the need for more freedom and possibilities in costumizing a video mixing tool and finding new ways of video performancing.
Finally, Rosa Menkman was interviewed. In her master thesis, she is researching the Glitch. A glitch is a ‘so called’ mistake within technology and digital tools. Think of mistakes in HTML code, compilers or codecs, crashing applications, dead links, blue screen errors and so on. While we as users often experience this as an annoying wrongdoing and/or failing of technology, Rosa interprets this in a whole new, eye-opening way, namely as poetry of machinery. In her performance, self-made videos of glitches are shown. The beauty of the glitch and the poetry of machinery became very clear in an aesthetically overwhelming performance.

In sharing some concluding words, the video slamming session gave some content examples of many topics discussed during the conference, where the role of video artists, curators, spectators and copyrighters are now facing the challenge of the crowds and the heavy saturation of (cheap) tools and possibilities for production and distribution of video. Are there still pearls to find in all the rubbish, and is that, then video art? Or do we need to re-think the whole definition of video? The Slamming session showed some very nice aspects and responses of dealing with 2.0 YouTube culture.

All pictures by Anne Helmond

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