For youtube 11.10.2012

Jenna Jauhiainen 11.10.2012

The days are growing shorter, the temperatures decrease and it is time to discuss youtube as a source of art. In answering the question “how many videos are on youtube?” the admins put the amount of content in a rather poetic form: 48 hours of video uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day.

That means that if from a year’s worth of video an hour was art, last year youtube was enriched with 2880 hours of pure art. A hay in a stack of videos. People from all nations upload content to youtube, shrinking the odds when narrowing the scope of art to something produced by just Finns. Or does it? In comparison to other nations, we have two things which might set us apart in relation to producing independent video art: broadband around the country and long winters. The means and time.

I am not sure where the following genre originates, and I bet there will never be anyone who does. There is not a single individual or a physical location, a place, a scene where this originates. Just people randomly scattered to face screens. I am of course talking about Youtube Poop:

“The current working definition is a video that has been made with appropriated footage and collage editing techniques to for the purpose of either annoying or entertaining viewers in the increasingly indifferent world of Youtube.”(1)

The finnish equivalent for YTP is STB, short for Sinätuubapaska. The basic idea is the same – slice and dice audio and video material, and create what you can of it. Most of the works are pure brain rape. A rare few show the mastering of editing and good selection of material to work with.

In addition to all kinds of memes, both YTB and STB often recycle material cut from cartoons and sitcoms. In STB Salatut Elämät, a finnish soap opera which in its asininity borders a sitcom, is an endless source of material. The reason for this is most likely their popularity. Mixing material from familiar programs makes it more approachable for the surfing masses. The cartoons of choice are not contemporary, but date back a couple or more decades, assumably watched by the creators as kids – before the internet, tender young minds were entertained by looping video cassettes.

The following video consists of many typical elements to STB – television nostalgia, cursing and heavy metal. It even has a narrative structure, believe it or not. Ketkuja metkuja by jubduk.

As you see, the copyrights infringed are so many that as a form of art STB is in the frontline of battling for freedom of expression. I have been saying for a long time that the generation of artists we unknowingly anticipate is the one which has had its training in the wild west of the internet.

Stereotypically, artists are seen as rebels who bring coveted societal issues to the surface. The video wizards have not excluded this dimension from their productions. This is already old, yet I have to use it as an example because together with the ten hour version, it has been watched for over a million times. Pretty good for a video of a Finnish politician. Mixed to the remix of a massive youtube hit in Finland, Kahen kilon siika (a video of a man exited over catching a whitefish), I give you Timo Soinin 2 kg jytky by Vesikortsu.

Art is selective re-creation of reality. In the vast lands of youtube people are practicing on producing just that. Even though the choice of theme and the material used tends to still be juvenile, the seed is there. When the pace of the unraveling of political, societal and ecological issues speeds up, there exists a need for quick re-creations which deliver the individual perspective to the masses.

Making fun of something is not as simple as it sounds, nor as insignificant. The increasingly indifferent world of Youtube is a reflection of the mindscape of its co-producers, the users. It serves as a platform for a microcosm that holds in itself the total image produced and surfed through by the 3.2 billion people online today.(2)

At best, that image is uplifting. YTP or STB might not be that for all, I know. Yet the traces of artistic processing are there, and the platform to find the audience is vast. To finish off, an animation mix of a youtube based animation artist

1. Know Your Meme, Youtube Poop .
2. Global Finance, Internet Users By Country.