Video Artists Explore a Decade Under YouTube's Influence
Artists explore a nascent legacy of viral gems, offbeat treasures, and cat videos in 'Ten Years at the Zoo.'
10 years after Jawed Karim posted the very first YouTube video, neither Spanish art critic and curator Marisol Salanova nor new media artist Carlos Sáez thought they'd ever have to return to the zoo. Starting in December, however, a new video art celebration called Ten Years at the Zoo will explore how, within a decade of its existence, the most popular online video sharing site has shaped and influenced contemporary video art. “Our intention was to study how the changes in communication driven by the different video social media affect video art,” Sáez tells The Creators Project. “We were particularly interested in how [the] most popular platforms and their properties shape the artworks, creating completely new narrative styles,” he adds.
The carefully curated show—made up of experimental audiovisual compositions by creators such as Andrés Galeano, Claudia Maté, Emilio Gomariz, Lorna Mills, Katie Torn, and Vince McKelvie—offers an interesting and meaningful way to tackle the topic. “All selected artists show a link to video social media in some of their works,” he explains. ”They use them as image resources, as objects of study or broadcast mediums, but none of these works would be the same without the online video services.”
By exploring how YouTube has mutated and evolved since its inception, in particular how the platform has reshaped communication and social behaviors, as well as data and information sharing through audiovisuals, each artist used their own approach to provide an eclectic but complementary study that analyzes the past 10 years in terms of communication tools. This free-to-distribute, web-based sociological research is translated into a physical installation consisting of a big quartz hexagon that plunges viewers into the core of a screen-powered panoptic architecture.
Finally, to complement the exhibition and to facilitate the general understanding of the main investigation, Sáez will unveil Real Life Exodus, unfolding a “4m x 4m x 2m sculpture that makes use of Robin Ruth’s aesthetic language to imply the attraction policy of the internet and its digital lifestyle,” while referring to the internet as a virtual metropolis with a key role in the process of helping modern society make the move from IRL to URL living.