October 10, 2009

YouTube As Cultural Vault

It is not often that the Mockitecture Weblog gets to debut a project or artist. Or at least one that anyone else would like to debut.

As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close (yikes), YouTube has established a prominent role in pop culture. Started as a hosting site, it has quickly become much more. The role of the site has changed dramatically, including a transformation of its use, battles over its use, and the emergence of its meta-use. Within YouTube exists a survey of the current human condition. Reality TV, DIY movies, post-MTV music videos, etc. mesh with rapidly expanding social media. YouTube is not just a media, its is a medium. Many videos on youtube are in response to other videos, and a whole culture has developed within and around it.
YTDJ420_69 has encapsulated the idea of an international cultural vault in his live performances. From the artist's website...
"Part performance piece, part improv DJ set, and part video art, YTDJ420_69 creates a meta-use collage of youtube videos, incorporating youtube's infinite pool of video, music and historical footage. Uniquely tailored to each circumstance, the live YJing events can be anything from poorly executed DJ set to moving cinematographic masterpiece."

Within the format, many issues arise. The idea of chance, not knowing the next video's exact contents is exciting. When mixing, the overlap is the key relational element. A YJ cannot match beats, nor achieve production slickness, so the relationships of individual pieces are much more arbitrary. Further, the amount of information is doubled in YJing. The addition of visual material makes a fourfold matrix of overlay. Because YJing is performed on the fly, there is no way to know exactly what will happen. Chance takes over.

Also, DJ culture is critiqued. Anyone can be a DJ now. Forget turntables, if you have a computer, you're a DJ. Phil Oakey said about early Human League, "We thought we were the punkiest thing going at the time. We didn't even bother to learn to play guitar. We were using one finger." YJing is a part of the disintegration of internet culture. Uh Oh.

Also, the global experience economy is explicitly expressed by and finessed out of the defining internet application of our time. The limits of YouTube are, well, there are no limits. (In George W Bush voice) It is the virtual vault for all cultural artifacts, as well as a working storehouse of ideas. There are very few things as global as YouTube.

The beauty of the meta-use of YouTube and this technique is that when performed live and projected on a wall or screen, the audience can see everything that the YJ is doing on the screen.

1 comment:

Cosmin Unguru said...
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