Video Vortex Amsterdam
Location: PostCS 11, Amsterdam
January, 18 – 19, 2008
In response to the increasing potential for video to become a significant form of personal media on the Internet, this conference examined the key issues that are emerging around the independent production and distribution of online video content. What are artists and activists responses to the popularity of ‘user-generated content’ websites? Is corporate backlash imminent?
After years of talk about digital conversions and crossmedia platforms we are now witnessing the merger of the Internet and television at a pace that no one predicted. For the baby boom generation, that currently forms the film and television establishment, the media organisations and conglomerates, this unfolds as a complete nightmare. Not only because of copyright issues but increasingly due to the shift of audience to vlogging and video-sharing websites as part of the development of a broader participatory culture.
The Video Vortex conference aimed to contextualize these latest developments through presenting continuities and discontinuities in the artistic, activist and mainstream perspective of the last few decades. Unlike the way online video presents itself as the latest and greatest, there are long threads to be 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 artifacts has a rich tradition that still needs to be explored. The conference aimed to raise the following questions:
How are people utilising the potential to independently produce and distribute independent video content on the Internet?
What are the alternatives to the proprietary standards currently being developed?
What are the commercial objectives that mass media is imposing on user-generated content and video-sharing databases?
What is the underlying economics of online video in the age of unlimited uploads?
How autonomous are vloggers within the broader domain of mass media?
How are cinema, television and video art being affected by the development of a ubiquitous online video practice?
What type of aesthetic and narrative issues does the database pose for online video practice?
The closing session on Saturday evening explored the way VJs and media artists are accessing and using online archives. Under the banner of Video Slamming, this evening was all about the new ways of watching, using, and playing with moving images, such as scratching, sampling, mixing, (meta)tagging and recommending.