Conference Program

VideoVortex #1 Brussels home | bios | program | documentation | exhibition | credits

Introduced by Geert Lovink. Moderated by Sabine Niederer.
The Conference will be followed by a selection of exceptional, witty and provoking Internet videos, compiled for the occassion by international and local guests.In the context of the conference we asked some people to compose a program of Internet video works, as a source of inspiration and reference.

Part of OPEN ARCHIVE #1 and Cinema in Transition

11:00 Welcome
11:15 Lev Manovich
12:00 Adrian Miles

12:45 Walking lunch

13:30 Tomas Rawlings & Ana Kronschnabl
14:15 Peter Horvath
15:00 Simon Ruschmeyer

15:45 Coffee

16:15 Peter Westenberg
17:00 Keith Sanborn
17:45 Johan Grimonprez

19:00 Walking dinner & drinks

20:30 Screenings


Adrian Miles
Faceted Video
“Video as a form has retained its formal and material ‘wholeness’ as it has migrated to digital and more recently networked environments. This conservativeness at the material level has not hindered the use and appropriation of the network by emerging and potentially novel forms of video practice, but it remains an essentially backwards looking form as it confuses access, distribution and equity with the new.
Softvideo provides a framework for the reconsideration of digital networked video whereby the granularity and fragmentary nature of video and film is preserved after publication. With the addition of a link architecture softvideography becomes crystalline in structure where any moment, or point, in a softvideo work becomes a possible point of connection with any other.
This crystalline structure, when taken literally, provides a productive theoretical and applied framework to conceive of a softvideographic practice. In traditional editing (hard video) an edit is a decision point. In principle this moment is infinitely divisible, and can be connected to any other subsequent sequence, however in hard video once determined this moment and point is single, fixed, absolute and linear.
When conceived of as a crystalline structure a shot or a sequence in a softvideo work now offers multiple facets or faces of connection. Some may be to other sequences in the one work, others might be to other objects, yet others could be to other parts of other videos.
In this manner the crystalline structure of softvideo produces not only a porous multiplicity of pathways, and so in turn a different sort of video object, but it also productively problematises the basic tenets of film and video narrative. In hard video each edit becomes the fixing of a duration as a particular path through the footage. In softvideo as a crystalline structure editing becomes an actualised series of virtual pathways through the footage.
This presentation intends to explore this idea, and to provide an example of such a video work. ”

Tomas Rawlings & Ana Kronschnabl
The pluginmanifesto: presaging the rise of YouTube?
“New films for new machines; how has the definition of a film been challenged by the new platforms and distribution methods made available since the advent of the internet? Since the inception of the Internet we have seen it emerge from a simple, largely technical, text-based exchange medium into a truly multimedia platform. Its pace of change seemingly mixed up with Moore’s Law, doubling and re-doubling as millions of people contribute to the grand media and information project that is the Internet. It is hard to escape the conclusions of the short film by Wesch: “…the machine is using us…”. The mechanics or medium is shaping what we do; have content and medium become so inextricably linked that the delivery mechanisms themselves now delineate our behaviour?

Peter Horvath
“In the world of video and web technology, I have found mediums that encompass and expand the lush, pluralistic and multi-layered qualities of my previous dada-inspired photomontage work. Freed from the restricting two-dimensional context by technological advances, I engage in fragmented narratives and sub-narratives that form and reform as multiple windows open and close. I orchestrate layers of history, including journal entries, sketches, written records, video, photographs, music, voice and general sound loops, resulting in atmospheric investigations into states of being.
I will discuss the Internet as medium for narrative based and abstract video work or “Web Cinema” (using his work as examples); the use of fragmented approaches to narrative structure within the multi-windowed browser environment; his interest in the relational aspects of the medium (one to one x 50,000); and the web’s capacity to facilitate a direct relationship with an individual viewer on his or her own terms.”

Simon Ruschmeyer
Artists moving (through) the web – New forms of artist’s production and distribution on the Internet
“The Internet is going through two major transitions right now. First, increasing bandwidth accelerates the convergence of the net with moving media like Film, Video & Television. As a result, classical linear structures of narration hit the decentralist logic of hypertext.Simultaneously, the social and communicational mechanism, known as web 2.0, change the routines of production and reception of the medium. At this point many opportunities originate for the ‘connected’ artist – whether it’s new ways of production or distribution.
First Part : The Moving Web – Narration vs. Interaction. Originating from the traditional cultural dichotomy image vs. text I’ll draw a line to two contrary media paradigms of the current World Wide Web: Narration vs. Interaction. The old hypertext-concept and the new temptations of the second generation of web services promise the release of the user from the chains of one-to-many distribution of the old media. But on the other hand, the convergence of old&new brings linear modes of narration back into the new medium. Especially the advertising industry has a strong interest in telling dramatic stories which attract the viewer emotionally and keep him away from leaving their website. A scenario can be drawn with the traditional media supporting linear forms of media structures on the one side and the idea of open networks which empower the users on the other. Is their a conflict on the rise?
Second Part: The Artist 2.0 So what are the phenomena of the moving web which artists focus their attention to? How do they use the Internet to produce and distribute their work? How do they reflect the tension between the commercial and the noncommercial aspects of the medium.
Production: the commercial web industry has discovered the power of ‘user generated content’ and tries to make profit out of it. Artists comment on this trend by acquiring the floods of video content on the web for their on remixes. To illustrate the idea of the artistic remix, I’ll introduce some artworks out of the field of database narration and digital found data.
Distribution: how can artists use the web to self-distribute their art? Just uploading your work on YouTube does not take you any further. Artists with a strong affinity to the web already understand the power of communities and use the net as their 24-hour-stage to promote themselves. ”

Peter Westenberg
Affinity Video
“How do you create an image in a network environment? Which means can be deployed to produce a common image? Are affinity and kinship reliable codecs? Collective video as the sum total of processes of exchange – an amalgam of social, technical and legal protocols. Passing through compatibility, edit decision lists, licenses and agreements, source codes, longings and limitations we travel along the various stage of on-line video production.”

Keith Sanborn
“Since it has existed, the net has displayed a dialectic of potlatch and recuperation, followed by detournement. Intelligence and generosity are exploited for fantastic profits, but the exploited can be hijacked as well. My work intersects the current phase of exploitation of user-supplied content on, etc., where 15 nano-seconds of fame are exchanged for consigning the aura of individual subjectivity to the ads framing it; in becoming part of a network of interchangeable, equivalent elements, selfhood is sold as commodity. In a necessary irony, my work functions by translating the offerings of Youtube to other contexts, repurposing them as commentary upon that context. Since this violates the principle of “host” ownership, they may not be, nor do I necessarily wish them to return directly to the scene of the crime. In place of one-way broadcast communication, the “new” spectacle offers inter-passivity, pseudo-agency. Creating resistance requires bringing forward the background. “Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain,” indeed; pay attention to the curtain.”

Johan Grimonprez
“Manipulators is a TV genre in which the programme is improvised by the curators. With Podcasts,online TV, mobile phones, video Ipods, blogs and YouTube, the digital age allows an infinite number of images and sounds to travel the world in no time. It is the era of home made productions, which expresses the chaotic nature of the human condition today as well as the cynicism of power. This video compilation, which can be understood both as the joyful affirmation of a superb global disengagement and the catalyst of effervescent criticism, is best described as a platform for temporary disobedience.”