Re: [Frameworks] this guy's youtube channel/ a different attitude towards time and attentiveness

From: David Tetzlaff <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 2011 09:42:38 -0400

As I've said like a kajillion times on this list, we tend to essentialize these mediums and their technologies without giving full account of the variability within them.

'Video' is one thing of you're watching an NTSC VHS on a 19" monitor in a gallery with people milling around, and another thing if you're watching an NTSC DVD via an upconverting player connected via HDMI to a 52" plasma set in a darkened room, and yet another if you're watching BluRay projected on a cinema quality 3-chip DLP.

'YouTube' too is more than one thing. Many users probably watch most clips in the default page view with all that other crap on the screen. But Myron goes to full-screen mode and darkens the room. The size and quality of his monitor also matters, of course. And YouTube now accomodates a wider range of quality for clips. 'Purotine's Nelson clips are in 360P and come from a what looks like a pretty lousy transfer. Most clips on YouTube have been there awhile, and are of similar low quality. But you can put HD clips on YouTube now. I think even 1080, though it seems to me anything over 720P is overkill. And how you prepare the file before you upload it, what compression specs you use, matters a lot. If you use the x264 compressor and set the right data rate, it looks quite good. And as Myron noted, YouTube has a 'playlist' feature, so if the uploader has organized the clips that way they will play one after another.

YouTube isn't the only online video service either. There's Vimeo and a couple others, some with different time limits, different graphics looks to the playback controls, etc. YouTube also acts as a video host. That is, once you've uploaded a clip to YouTube, you can get an embed code, and then place that clip on your own webpage, where you can put it any context you like (including giving instructions to the viewer to dim the lights, turn off distractions, and switch to full-screen mode).

On the other hand, as Fred says, the new technology opens new possibilities for creativity. For just one example, experimental filmmakers have sometimes been interested in 'multi-channel' work: Chelsea Girls, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, etc. Internet video would allow a user to open several browser windows at once, load a different clip in each one, and play them more or less simultaneously. Maybe some artist will find a way to do something interesting with that....

The issue is not really technology, but the broader culture. Of course, the dominant modes of technologies all are small parts of making the culture what it is. But individually their causal effect is small, and they usually present opportunities to go in the other direction. For example, Edward Tutfe is right about PowerPoint dumbing us all down, because that's how people use it, and that's what it's marketed for. But David Byrne is also right that you don't have to use it that way, and with a little experimentation, you can make art with it.
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Received on Sun Jul 17 2011 - 06:43:08 CDT