Monday, May 19, 2008

Video Feedback

Over the weekend I went to the Getty Museum to see the show on "California Video," where many of the genres now being produced by vernacular content-creators for YouTube could be seen in the avant-garde practices of video artists of the sixties and seventies: parody, pastiche, remixes of news and political speeches, confessional, and many experiments with the affordances of the technology were well-represented in the exhibition. The Getty's California Video website is equipped with a Flash player that allows online visitors to see excerpts from the show, including remarkable early work by Joanne Kyger, Skip Sweeney, Chris Burden, the Ant Farm collective, and Ilene Segalove. A full installation of Bill Viola's 1992 work The Sleepers was also striking to see.

This YouTube satire of the work of Jay McCafferty mocks certain aspects of this legacy. Starting in 1973, McCafferty created the ongoing work "Self-Portrait, Every Year," which was included in the Getty show. Yet it is difficult to dismiss McCafferty's work, given the popularity of current YouTube videos by photographer Noah Kalina or graphic designer Ahree Lee? They too have inspired parodies and imitators.

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