The Fine Art of Video in a YouTube World

From the description on the below YouTube video: “The exhibition includes important examples of single-channel video, video sculpture, and video installation. California Video locates a distinctively West Coast aesthetic within the broader history of video art”.

I know what you are probably thinking after watching this video. WTF. It is VERY uncomfortable to watch. The insanity of it all is obviously a major arc of the work. As you might expect just from watching, this video has not received a lot of views. It was added to YouTube almost a year ago and today has 2041 hits. I found the video in my RSS feeds from a posting of a guest blogger based in Oakland, California, Joseph del Pesco, for Eybeam’s reBlog. Eyebeam is a progressive art space in the Chelsea district of NYC that wavers between the definition of a gallery and museum. Pesco found it via the simple and very broad art tag on del.icious.

The video comes the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles as part of an exhibit that ran in 2008 featuring the work of ‘58 artists, duos, and collectives including Ant Farm, John Baldessari, Brian Bress, Nancy Buchanan, Chris Burden, Allan Kaprow, Mike Kelly, Suzanne Lacy, Bruce Nauman, Martha Rosler, Bill Viola, and William Wegman.’

Within the context of the fine arts world, the works in this video are considered by many people to be some of the greatest, most defining art of our times. When I studied art and design in NYC in the early 2000’s, Bill Viola was the Britney Spears of video art.

What does YouTube mean for this classical tradition of video art? What is the “value” of this video now? Some will say its determined by ad revenue potential on 2000 views while others will explain the cultural significance.

Two observations:

First, not a lot of people appear to be interested. It’s not surprising from what we know about what we want: information and entertainment. It’s very difficult to become satiated with this work; it’s abstract and hard to understand. It’s more disturbing than entertaining in this particular case. Here I am making more of a statement about the fine arts in general. Traditionally, few people have delved into the arts because it is so unaccessible. 

Second, it’s interesting to consider that this kind of experimentation and thinking is actually going on in droves now all over the YouTube platform. The amount of people with artistic ideas now participating with the video medium has increased dramatically in just a three year period. How will this effect the medium of “Video Art” in the future? Will there be outstanding “video artists” to represent future times? Or will the new Bill Viola’s be seen as just a bunch of YouTube crazies?


Revver Undergoing Data Center Migration

Several people have noticed that Revver has been down for a couple of days. I went out to have a look around and found that Live Universe was completely down too. I put out an email to the owner of the sites, Brad Greenspan, also founder of Myspace, and leaned that the sites are undergoing co-lo migration. From Brad’s email response to me just a few minutes ago:

“Co-lo Migration underway in LA. Should be back online in 3-4 hours. Should be better then ever after this because our company has just lowered its monthly Data Center costs SIGNIFICANTLY. One of the biggest empty calorie snacks for an internet business. Monthly DC 🙂 So now more resources can be put into websites and services for partners and users!”

Sounds like the sites will be back up soon.


Digital TV transition postponement all but certain

Digital TV transition postponement all but certain

From Engadget:

“We’re actually having a hard time believing this ourselves, but word on the street has it that the Senate is “on the verge of passing a bill that would delay until June the date when TV stations must broadcast in all-digital format.” Without Congressional action, all TV stations will switch off their analog signals on February 17th – a date that has been blastedout to the general populace for years now. The issue is that millions of Americans are currently on a waiting list for one of those $40 vouchers, and evidently it’ll take a few more months to get additional funding and clear the backlog. It’s expected that the new switchover date will soon become June 12th, and you can find all the fine print just down there in the read link.“



It seems as though CES may have weathered the horrible storm of damage we’ll forever know as 2008. With nearly confirmed rumors that Apple will be at CES next year, you can expect the trade show to be strong in 2010 as well, despite uncertainties for the rest of this year. As noted in the 1970’s discostyleque CES light show recap of this past weekend by Rocketboom (sponsored by Intel), screen interfaces, from motion tracking, to motion feedback to multi-touch are in. You’ll even notice at 1:50sec a contemporary replica of Camile Utterback’s 1999 Text Rain (video).

Re: Today’s related Techmeme headlines:



 Erick Schonfeld / TechCrunch:20 minutes agoMicrosoft Leads $24 Million Round In N-Trig To Bring Multitouch To PCs  —  We’re going to be seeing a lot more touchscreen computers.  One of the features of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system is that it supports a multitouch user-interface (much like on the iPhone or a Tablet PC).

 Nick Wingfield / Wall Street Journal:Microsoft Betting Big on ‘Touch’  —  Software Giant Invests in Touch-Screen Technology for Personal Computers  —  While Apple Inc.’s iPhone kicked off the craze for touch-sensing screens on mobile phones, Microsoft Corp. is pushing a similar technology for personal-computer screens that could eventually replace the computer mouse.Discussion: Beyond BinaryVenture Capital CafepaidContent.orgVC Ratings andGottaBeMobile.com N-Trig:N-trig Secures $24 Million of New Funding to Fuel Hands-on computing™ Growth in Global PC Market  —  Company to Utilize Funds to Further Develop Multi-Touch Technology Following Investment Procurement  —  N-trig, providers of DuoSense™ technology, combining pen and capacitive touch …Discussion:Stacey Higginbotham / GigaOM:   When Touch Is Inappropriate  —  Microsoft continues to push touch …Justin / GPS Obsessed:   Israel’s N-trig raises $24 million for touchscreen development, led by Microsoft Eric Krangel / Silicon Alley Insider:
Windows 7 Touch: It’s For The Kitchen? (MSFT)Discussion:Mary Jo Foley / All about Microsoft:   Touch-enabled PCs and browsers: Do not wantElectronista:   Microsoft a major investor in touchscreen firm


Is My Computer On

I just created a new website that I’m pretty happy about called Is My  
Computer On. It’s a new tool that anyone can use for free as long as  
they have a computer with internet access. You can use the site to  
determine whether or not your computer is on and it’s easy to remember the name in  
case you need it in the future:


Let me know if anyone is having any technical difficulties or anything, I just released it today.


It’s The Interface!

The biggest problem with my friendfeed account is that the interface is so raw, it’s actually just a wireframe with no “design” at all. No design is design to a point. On the other hand, design is what adds “experience” to a platform, or any situation for that matter. Why is the iPhone so great when it delivers the same info as the Blackberry? Because the experience of the iPhone is way more awesome, by design. The extra design, beyond the functionality is worth everything. The interaction with data can become a pleasure.

Friendfeed sucks on this. It’s so raw, people are having a hard time understanding how to use it and it’s not a very comfortable place to be. It’s difficult to be on FF as it takes a lot of work to get to the info you want. I have been touting FF for over a year, but my Facebook account is slowly replacing the value of FF for me.

Last year, I simply assumed that the plan for FF was to rely on 3rd parties to develop interface apps, like Twitter had done. Considering most people interact with Twitter without ever going to the Twitter website, it seemed like an opportunist would create a great 3rd party application that would nail the design aspect. But that’s not happening so why can’t Friendfeed do something about this themselves?