Online Video Art at Video Vortex 6: Conditional Design

On: March 13, 2011
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About Caroline Goralczyk
I’m a student of the MA track in New Media and a journalist to be, currently living in Amsterdam and enjoying the city at its fullest. After studying as an exchange student at the UvA, I decided to come back and stay here for a little longer to pursue my Master’s degree. In Vienna I was working for a news magazine where I had the chance to gain first-hand experience on how important new media channels can be for professional journalists nowadays. Therefore, my main interest in New Media lies in its influence on journalism and political communication in regard to news making and publishing.


In his presentation on online video art and the design of fluid digital environments, graphic designer and project director Roel Wouters introduced the audience to interactive projects which include dynamic media such as web video and animation to install crowdsourced performances. With his collegues Luna Maurer, Jonathan Puckey and Edo Paulus he has published the Conditional Design Manifesto, which is based on the work of his collective called Conditional Design and emphasizes the idea of following processes in the digital realm rather than its products.

Roel Wouters @ Video Vortex Amsterdam

In their work, Wouters and his fellow group of designers focus on the increasing blur between consumers and producers which comes about as a result of web technology enabling user participation in the creation of online video art. Roel Wouters presented two projects that are based on users taking part in the installation of a video, one based on people taking pictures of themselves with a webcam, prior given the instruction to resemble a particular frame and one based on creating a video, resembling a particular scene or act.  As if to say “If I would be the director, you would be my actors”, these projects are based on collaborative story-telling in creating online video art which participants can share with their friends online.

“It is surprising how these projects result in really beautiful photography. People are not self-conscious when resembling the frame which they are given and that is why they appear very natural” stated Wouters when presenting the two projects “One frame of fame” and “Now Take a Bow” to the audience. His collective Conditional Design was recently involved in the 5days off festival in Amsterdam with a project based on an iPhone application which Routers calls a ‘social photo toy’, resembling ‘the ultimate amateur photo’, which is people taking pictures of themselves in front of a mirror using flash.

Here is an illustration of the ‘One frame of fame’ project:

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