After years of talk about digital convergence and crossmedia platforms, we are now witnessing the merger of the internet and television at a spectacular pace. From laptops, to mobile phones and urban screens, the speed with which moving images are created and then shared across the web of the internet has taken an almost omnipotent position within our society and shared culture.

For the film and television establishment, its media organisations and conglomerates, fusion with the internet is marked by copyright issues and the shift of audiences away from ‘one-way’ media towards popular video-sharing websites, and are all part of the development of a broader participatory culture. On a cultural level this development also raises critical questions, for what will it mean when parts of our everyday life not only can and will be recorded (with or without our knowledge or permission), but are then instantly distributed on the Internet?

The Video Vortex project aims to contextualize these developments by tracing continuities and fault lines across recent decades in artistic, activist and mainstream activity. Contrary to the way online video is frequently understood and presented as something entirely new, it has long threads woven into the history of visual art, cinema and documentary production. The rise of the database as the dominant form of storing and accessing cultural artefacts also has a rich tradition that needs exploring. As a platform for artists, film and video professionals, and researchers, Video Vortex responds to this emerging field, and offers a crucial space for the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

Since 2007, Video Vortex events, conferences, workshops, and exhibitions have taken place throughout (and outside of) Europe, and includes the publication of the first Video Vortex Reader (2008), and the second one being published March 2011. With this program, the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam, and its project partners, have been initiating and facilitating a deep study of online video in its diverse forms and uses, and further, its impact both on, and within, the information society.

Conferences to date:

VideoVortex #1: Brussels, Belgium, October 2007
VideoVortex #2: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 2008
VideoVortex #3: Ankara, Turkey, October 2008
VideoVortex #4: Split, Croatia, October 2009
VideoVortex #5: Brussels, Belgium, November 2009
VideoVortex #6: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 2011
VideoVortex #7: Yogyakarta, Indonesia, July 2011
VideoVortex #8: Zagreb, Croatia, May 2012
VideoVortex #9: Lüneburg, Germany, February 2013
VideoVortex #10: Istanbul, Turkey, September 2014
VideoVortex #11: Kochi, India, February 2017

Culture Vortex

The Video Vortex 6 event being held in Amsterdam, March 2011, is part of the Culture Vortex research project funded by RAAK.

Culture Vortex is a program for innovation started to encourage public participation in online cultural collections.

In the public and cultural sectors, collection holders have raised questions concerning the online distribution of creative material. Until the present moment, research and funding programs have focused mainly on the digitalization and licensing of large collections. On the side of the institution, the professional is wondering: How do I involve the audience in my online collections? And how do I inform the artists about the possibilities of sharing their works online? On the other side, artists are unsure about the added value of offering their works online.

The main question this Culture Vortex study seeks to answer is therefore:
How can an active audience be involved in online cultural material and an elaborate network culture be facilitated in which participants will share, describe, review, tag, reuse or otherwise interact with the cultural works?

Three research questions can be formulated:
– What is the surplus value of online distribution of creative works and what are new distribution and income models for online distribution? (question raised by the professional artist and the collection holder)
– How can an audience be developed into an elaborate network culture, encompassing audiovisual collections and public institutions? (question raised by the collection holder)
– How can young professionals prepare for a media landscape in which works are shared and actively distributed online? (question raised by an HBO teacher/ teacher)

The RAAK program Culture Vortex aims to collaborate with professionals from the public, cultural and educational sectors to create an environment in which expertise on online collections and user cultures can be further developed and the above mentioned questions can be answered.

Parties represented in the Culture Vortex program include professionals from public and cultural institutions, professionals from HBO (higher vocational) education, knowledge institutions and professional artists.

The RAAK program Culture Vortex focuses on three areas:
1. Network Cultures: The RAAK program aims to focus on supporting professionals in cultural and public organizations holding collections, who strive to facilitate their audiences in sharing, describing, reviewing, tagging or otherwise interacting with (parts of) those collections.
2. Public 2.0. User research: The RAAK program Culture Vortex aims to support professional artists in the online distribution of their works. Many artists and collection holders have a need for more knowledge about legal issues, the possibilities of online distribution and new income models.
3. The Digital Public Sphere: Finally, online cultural material is a rich source of information for research and education in the domains of new media, digital culture and design. The emphasis is on HBO (higher vocational) education and applied research within those institutions, since the focus is on current and future professionals.

These focus points have initiated three programs of the same name, and further developed into projects. Each project has a coordinator from the consortium and several contributors from the collective of consortium members and program participants. To stimulate a circulation of knowledge within and between the various parties in the program, a so-called ‘Community of Practice’ will be established as the fundamental platform supporting the RAAK Culture Vortex program.

This Community of Practice will maintain after the Culture Vortex program and is therefore expressly also accessible to people not participating in the RAAK program.

Hogeschool van Amsterdam – Domein Media, Creatie en Informatie, HvA Interactieve Media

Program Leader:
HvA Lectoraat Netwerkcultuur

HvA Lectoraat Netwerkcultuur en MediaLAB Amsterdam, Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid, Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst, Virtueel Platform, VPRO

Program Participants:
Amsterdam Stadsarchief, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, IDFA, Video Vortex netwerk en Urban Screens Association