I Want My Youtube
By becoming producers of media experiences instead of just passive consumers, emerging avant-pop net artists challenge the status quo consumer culture similar to the way the lefty blogosphere is starting to shake up democratic politics in America.
Of course, the fascination with new media technologies like video blogging is partly narcissistic as in "I want my video blog" or "I Want my Youtube" fifteen minutes of fame. But it goes beyond that too: because you can keep creating new material and building your audience over time. As a participant in an expanding, socially networked, online culture, you're part of the audience too. What we see evolving now on sites like Youtube is a video-making community whose collaborative networking is on the verge of developing a distributed video art language that reflects the way young people think. As we have been discussing in my undegraduate seminar, there are three layers of literacy that need to be integrated into an emerging, avant-pop, net art lifestyle that utilizes Web 2.0 as the primary tool to create new work: writing-reading-alphabetic-rhetorical literacy, computer-mediated network literacy, and digital design / visual literacy.
You must also have the capacity to (gradually) develop your skills as a remixologist, someone who can play these different literacies off of each other as a kind of (inter)subjective performance manipulating the personal with the political, the agitated real with the supremely fictional, and the autobiographical with the auto-ethnographical.
Leading figures in the mainstream media discourse are applying these cutting-edge skills-sets in ways never seen before. It's happening in political blogs and, more importantly, fake news shows. What we used to call the "segment" is now the perfect clip size for video blogging. So if you want to attack the Bush adminsitration, you don't go all punditlike on CNN and try to get your message across that way (besides, they're not interested). Who would want to aspire to that phony baloney when you have so many other options at your disposal. Instead, you go all South Park and Jonathan Swift-boat your targets. You watch the Colbert Report and the Daily Show and see how they contextualize the events of the day and learn how to hone your own writing and performing skills. A lot of this is about video writing. It's about comedic timing. About customizing your shtik.
Adrian Miles, who started theorizing on video blogs over six years ago, says video blogging is like being Jean-Luc Godard with a cable modem. Does someone like Ze Frank feel like he's ushering in the nouveau cinescripture for the avant-pop generation?