videorevolutionaries.com: Descendants or Bastard Children of the Getty's "California Video" exhibit?
The Getty-commissioned website, videorevolutionaries.com, has allegedly been overthrown by a group of San Diego artists called “The Infinity Lab”. As an offshoot of the "California Video" exhibit currently on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, the museum had created the "Video Revolutionaries" website as a way for emerging artists to "be a part of the video revolution." The top rated videos were promised a screening at the Getty’s "Fridays Off the 405" event. A monthly event held outdoors in the courtyard of the Getty Center. Part YouTube, part "American Idol," with this Video Revolutionaries website anyone could upload videos, and rate and view other videos. Anyone that was pre-screened by the website’s administrators and allowed on to the website. It was a video art extravaganza--until the contest was abruptly ended by the apparent onslaught of “cheaters”.
Although an obvious attempt to stay up to date to the latest in pop culture, it seems The Getty had not fully thought through the idea of using the Internet as opposed to the gallery for displaying video art. It quickly became apparent that the site was plagued by the tricks of “net artists”. For example, The Infinity Lab videos seemed to dominate the most viewed and highest rated sections of the site. The top viewed and highest rated videos both open with the words “This is a Digital Hijack”. Although no one has explicitly stated how this “hijack” has occurred, the discrepancy in numbers of ratings between certain user’s videos and most other videos raises questions as to whether it is an accurate account of the public’s opinions.
The content of The Infinity Lab’s clips seems to differ from other highly rated videos on the site. Most of the other works are fairly abstract and can pass as ambient, experimental video. Whereas The Infinity Lab’s videos star three characters with tinfoil or medical masks sloppily placed on their faces engaging in odd, random behaviors like dancing around in a backyard next to a toy swimming pool or barbequing tin foil-laden silver bones. It is possible these absurdist pieces are conceptual farces of YouTube culture, but The Infinity Lab doesn't offer any explanation to the Video Revolutionaries viewers.
It is evident that “Video Revolutionaries” is an ironic title for this Getty sponsored on-line public, faux New Media exhibition. In order to upload videos, artists must agree to a vast array of rules and regulations that can only be seen as a form of censorship. Simultaneously, the "California Video" artists whose work is inside the museum present videos that defy homogenized notions of artmaking in the confines of an elite institution. Would the transgressive actions of the Kipper Kids urinating in a cup be allowed on the Video Revolutionaries website? Or does censorship only pertain to those less privileged?
Perhaps this dichotomy invites an electronic hostile take over. It could be said that the “hijack” (although technically more of a net art prank) is an attempt to create a project that is truly inspired by their conceptual predecessors. In their public statement, The Infinity Lab denies all association with any alleged hijack. They claim that they had absolutely no part in this system of rating. They do however site a long list of net art artists who have done similar things in the past (some of whom they have even studied under at local Universities).
If a revolution is a modification of an existing methodology, constitution, or structure, then The Infinity Lab has succeeded in a tiny revolution that is not "homogenized" by the videorevolutionaries.com website. Any possible further effects of this overthrow are still unknown at this time.
…and perhaps at
(until the Getty shuts down the website)