YouTube has a reputation as the social networking site with the lowest level of collective intelligence among its members. That said, it also has a lot more users than a site like Vimeo, which may sustain reasoned debate but mostly offers the alternative of indifference to the cut and thrust of YouTube. I use both, but I use YouTube more.
Fed up with some of the comments elicited by my explorations of what experimental film might be in a digital age, last month I posted on YouTube a video I’d originally entitled Watching Paint Dry – both as a humorous response to numskulls and as an examination of the aesthetics of boredom. When I uploaded the film I wasn’t that surprised to discover someone else had done a series of videos called Watching Paint Dry, which were instantly linked to mine because of related tags. When I looked at these postings they appeared to be an unchanging coloured screen without a soundtrack. I’d gone to the trouble of painting weathered wood which absorbed a coat of granular solids quickly so that you could literally see it dry in less than ten minutes. I’d also put on a soundtrack and reframed what I’d done by filming it playing back on a camera monitor – so that among other things, you can see the time counted off. The message accompanying the older but fake ‘paint drying’ videos is that most of what’s on YouTube is shit and it is more interesting to ‘watch paint dry’. This is a one-line joke which reproduces the situation it claims to decry.
So far, my paint drying video has proved less popular than much of what I’ve posted, whereas the earlier fake ‘paint drying’ video has far more hits than anything I’ve done. But then I’d have rather made a good film than got 100,000 hits for a one-line joke. And while I intend to continue with the various lines of film-making I’ve been exploring on YouTube, I decided to try a quick change of tack. I’ve just put up a film called Naked Kangaroos which I made during a trip to Melbourne in 2004 when I was working as artist-in-residence at Victorian College of the Arts. While there I went on a couple of tourist trips and filmed other tourists taking pictures. One of the excursions was to Philip Island via a wildlife sanctuary and vineyard, the other was around the harbour, and I threw in a few shots from my 26th floor harbour-side serviced apartment. Naked Kangaroos was not a film I’d planned to make public, but I’m curious to see if this video of tourists proves more popular than a more considered and carefully prepared piece like _Watching Paint Dry.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by fi on 2009-09-10 11:01:25 +0000
that sounds brilliant!
Comment by Naked Kangaroos Go UK on 2009-09-10 11:04:52 +0000
Where there’s a hit there’s a writ and since you didn’t get release-forms from us at the time, we’re hopping mad and on the way to the Big Blogger house for a ticketed event. We’ve seen that video of you with the boxing gloves and the skirt on but we’ll be gloved and nude!
Comment by Rolf Harris on 2009-09-10 12:06:15 +0000
Tie me kangaroo down spot, tie me kangaroo down…
Comment by Rodney Rude on 2009-09-10 12:48:10 +0000
Personally I prefer naked ladies to naked kangaroos… but whatever turns you on as long as you’re not a Queensland copper!
Comment by Naked Kangaroo 3 : The Art Of Freestyle Boxing on 2009-09-10 14:00:20 +0000
The kangaroos in this film are way more naked than any you may have come across previously.
Comment by Mel Gibson on 2009-09-10 14:16:35 +0000
I wouldn’t be the global character I subsequently became if I had indulged in character building nude boxing matches with kangeroos as a teenager. i would recommend the film Nude Kangaroos to anyone.
Comment by Steven Speilberg on 2009-09-10 21:05:59 +0000
this is the way forward for film-making, in Hollywood we’re all following your lead! Watching Paint Dry makes Close Encounters look like dumbed down schlock aimed at pre-teens on crack!
Comment by Marilyn Chambers on 2009-09-10 21:41:24 +0000
Watching Paint Dry makes me horny, and all in all does far more erotically than Naked Kangaroos.
Comment by Paul McCartney on 2009-09-10 22:12:29 +0000
So this is what gets the cool table going, but where’s the footage of Professor Antony Downey?
Comment by David Cronenberg Posing As Michael K on 2009-09-10 22:29:34 +0000
You’re the new me! All hail the new flesh!
Comment by The Unreformed Whitney Houston on 2009-09-11 09:19:12 +0000
These films are better than crack! So forget Hollywood, it’s just whack, check this out instead!
Comment by Mavis Smith on 2009-09-11 14:09:28 +0000
I like your baked bean video best!
Comment by Old Rope on 2009-09-11 14:45:13 +0000
I prefer watching kangaroos in clothes. What they are doing is of no consequence to me since I derive my kicks from analysing their sartorial choices rather than their other behavioural patterns.
I recommended something similar to David Attenborough, with a mind to a television series, but I don’t think he received my letters. What has the BBC come to?
Comment by Michael Hollingshead on 2009-09-11 15:28:39 +0000
Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-09-11 17:25:23 +0000
Tourists as tourist attractions. It’s the new groove sensation!
Comment by Old Rope on 2009-09-14 21:51:24 +0000
I prefer watching tourists in clothes. What they are doing is of no consequence to me since I derive my kicks from analysing their sartorial choices rather than their other behavioural patterns.
Comment by Old Rope on 2009-09-14 21:52:17 +0000
I also like watching tourists naked, as I get off on seeing camera’s bouncing on tums
Comment by Michael K on 2009-09-16 10:21:55 +0000
I’ve surreptitiously made a few films at nudist beaches analysing in slo-mo, the swing of random penis and the jiggle of random breast or bum. Of course, this makes me a leading avant-garde pornographer but it doesn’t make me a bad poysin
Comment by Old Rope on 2009-09-16 22:44:41 +0000
But you would be a bad hoisin, which can contain soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, garlic and ginger rather than outright nudity on grainy VHS tapes