YouTube Play - Where Popular Culture Meets Art

A close encounter with the five more YouTube Play award winners, L through N.

"Video as an art form is nothing new, but to have that vast platform and the availability of video in so many inexpensive formats now has changed the way artists are working with it."

"There is a form that is very specific, with artists using mashups and remakes and it is very reflexive, looking at the medium itself and using that language." 

- Guggenheim chief curator Nancy Spector, the Guardian 2010

A still from Le Syndrome du Timide, 2010, by Pierre-Axel Vuillaume-Prezeau

LE SYNDROME DU TIMIDE, 2010

Pierre-Axel Vuillaume-Prezeau (b. 1986, Nalliers, France; lives in Paris)

A gentle film about a timid young man worried that he is always being judged. The aha moment for him comes while reading a book about molluscs. He discovers that everyone, in fact, is shy and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Lovely bits of pixillation intermixed with live action and subtle but very effective visual effects. N.B. the voice over is in French. For English subtitles, click on the CC button on the lower right of the video.

A still from Luis, 2008, by Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León, and Niles Atallah

LUIS, 2008

Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León, and Niles Atallah

A frightening short, it has the feel of a nightmare and exists in that liminal space between logic and visceral impression. It's interesting to note what the filmmakers themselves write about their process: "When we began to work together on the short films … we didn’t know whether we were making a short film or a video art piece; whether we were creating a work that would be more narrative-driven or abstract in its form. All we wanted to do was to make an animation piece where charcoal drawings moved on the walls of a room. We wanted to make audiovisual works where the organic, material and precarious were at the root of the story itself, and not just a visual or decorative element." (from http://www.lacasalobo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/booklacasalobo.pdf)

A still from Man With A Movie Camera: The Global Remake, 2007, by Perry Bard

MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA: THE GLOBAL REMAKE, 2007–

Perry Bard (b. 1944, Quebec City; lives in New York)

This is a current take on the 1929 film Man With A Movie Camera by Russian director Dziga Vertov. The original was a feature length film famous for its wide range of cinematic techniques used to present 1920s urban Soviet life. Man With A Movie Camera: The Global Remake,  a commentary on the earlier film, presents a split screen with current footage running alongside clips from the earlier film. 

A still from Moonwalk, 2008, by Martin Kohout

MOONWALK, 2008

Martin Kohout (b. 1984, Prague; lives in Berlin)

This one is a conceptual work of art; don't go looking for story or rich imagery. It's a series of video play bars opening one above the other like steps extending to - the moon? Hard to say how many there are and the actual facts of measurement are left to our imagination. Some of the YouTube comments are interesting though. They fall into two categories that could be summed up with these two comments: "just play with the skip button and shut the fuck up , this is interactive digital art" and "genius".

A still from Noteboek, 2008, by Evelien Lohbeck

NOTEBOEK, 2008

Evelien Lohbeck (b. 1983, Rotterdam; lives in Tilburg, Netherlands)

Like a magician the filmmaker Evelien Lohbeck convinces us of the reality of illusions. Combining video and drawing, accurate sound effects, and an astute sense of animation timing, she conjures up the impossible in several very convincing and effective deceptions centred around her notebook. These are modern day magic tricks in which the artist transforms one reality into another.

The best filmmaking brings us to that "Aha" moment. It could be from that strange intellectual space created by the juxtaposition of remotely related concepts, it could be from having our sense of reality brought into question, it could be a sudden and incisive narrative awareness that relates back to our own experience of the world. All work, all take us for a moment outside of our everyday lives.

You can view all the winning entries on the Guggenheim website
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