PULSE PLAY > New York 2009
Random Rules: A Chanel of Artists' selections from YouTube
Curated by Marina Fokidis
Many believe that since the launch of YouTube in 2005, the history of the
moving image has diverted from its canonical route. The website, which
makes it possible for anyone who can use a computer to post a video,
reaches millions of people daily.
Like no other time before, it is now possible for amateur videos, music videos,
film footage, commercials and news segments as well as (in some cases)
artists' videos to be mingled together in a random way, free of any
preconceived hierarchy or system. According to Fokidis, the active use of
YouTube is a form of curating and 'Different people's 'playlists' are
transformed into exhibitions and 'tagging' becomes a process of random archiving.'
For PULSE PLAY> Random Rules, Fokidis has invited several emerging and established
artists to create their very own playlists thereby presenting these artists not
only as artists, but as curators and as collectors as well.
Artists include Andrea Angelidakis, Aids 3D, AVAF, Pablo Leon de la Barra,
Erick Beltran, Keren Cyter, Jeremy Deller, Cerith Wyn Evans, Dominique
Gonzalez Foerster, Dora Garcia, Rodney Graham, Annika Larsson, Matthieu Laurette,
Ingo Niermann, Miltos Manetas, Ahmet Ogut, Angelo Plessas,
Lisi Raskin, Linda Wallace.
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Excerpt from article for the second VideoVortex reader...
How to approach YouTube? I had in mind a whole lot of different ways to go. I sat down in front of YouTube to begin, and absent-mindedly played a 'favourite' from my own YouTube site, the Laughing Clowns song Eternally Yours. YouTube, as it does, spat up a few suggestions based on my selection. I clicked through their suggestions -- listening and looking at clips of bands from the eighties in Australia while still working on my paper list of where I thought I wanted to go. Soon I stopped writing ideas on the paper list and followed links. Selecting the song I Touch Myself by the Divinyls I was startled to find hundreds of versions of people covering the song, with attitudes ranging from hilarity to poignancy. Intrigued, I knew I'd found my playlist.
Then it was just a process of sorting and selection, settling finally on clips where people actually sing, not just mime. This song, with lyrics 'I touch myself, thinking about you' was seemingly a private fantasy rendered public. One after another people were seen in their rooms singing to an unknown you. There were also choirs singing the song, bands, tipsy singers in bars and at weddings, but mainly it was the solitary singer at home that interested me. Reaching out, sliding across windows and doors, seeking with their voice transformation through embodiment. The selection seemed to say a lot about YouTube, about the banality and ordinariness of most of the uploads but...the humanity!
I called the playlist garland, like a garland of flowers strung together on the same rope, echoing the internet's world of self-similarity, the same yet with variation, where being is pursued by automated software shadows.
Upon receipt of the playlists from the artists, curator Marina Fokidis immediately downloaded the clips and strung them together in video files for playing in the Pulse exhibition. Quite quickly clips were taken offline by users, not because they were on the playlists (at least I don't think so) but just because this is how it is with YouTube. Gaps and jumps began to appear in the 'live' playlists of all the artists. What would it mean to have re-uploaded the absent clips? Where and what was the real work? Was the video version played in the exhibition a documentation of an ephemeral moment in YouTube time, or was it the work itself? Or are the playlists themselves as they are now the real works, full of omissions and gaps, continually breaking down further over time? Perhaps in fact there are numerous versions of the playlists and of the entire exhibition, with exponentially infinite variations over time.
- Linda Wallace
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