Posts Tagged ‘youtube’

The anticipated image

August 28, 2012 Comments off

An Al Jazeera English news clip from August 27th, 2012 bearing the headline Syria military helicopter crashes in Damascus reports on the claims of Free Syrian Army shooting down the helicopter. The standard narrative which includes both the rebels and the official sides of the story is heard over images of a burning rotorcraft spiraling down the sky. A text bar that appears on the upper left corner of the footage reads “YOUTUBE.COM/ACTIVIST VIDEO,” i.e. Al Jazeera’s correspondents have not produces the videos. The 1:26 minute clip is a collage of ten indigenous videos shot by civilians or activists and uploaded on youtube. The crash is captured from all sides and angles; long shots from a far, from underneath, a shot from the building right behind which it crashed, long shots of smoke rising over the neighborhood. A collection of footage that is close to the dream of any news broadcast corporation a few years ago as such thorough visual coverage of an event would require ten cameramen on stand-by in ten different locations in the city, a financially and logistically impossible task especially in combat conditions.

Syria military helicopter crashes in Damascus, Al Jazeera, still frame from

But this all-encompassing coverage of the event by civilian cameras is not particularly new, and especially not in Syria where the documentation of the conflict was from the outset an integral part of the protest-turned-civil-war. But following the stream of Syrian videos online, one of the recent recurring tropes was videos of aircrafts flying in the sky, usually to document the use of overhead shelling of cities by the regime forces. The videos, as discussed before, were for the most part isolated images of helicopters or airplanes flying against the blue sky, and it was only the supporting Arabic voice over that contextualized them within the Syrian conflict and were contingent upon their placement within the larger online archive of the conflict. But the videos signified a shift in attention, an expansion of vision or rather the dimension of the war, which now included the sky. In addition to documentation of the events and evidence on the ground, the videographers now pointed their cameras to flying objects in the sky in anticipation. The direction of the camera lenses preceded the event and captured the imminent falling of the aircraft before being shot down by the FSA artillery.

Syria military helicopter crashes in Damascus, Al Jazeera, still frame from

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Looking through the window

June 8, 2012 Comments off

There is a genre of videos coming out of Syria that could be called “looking through the window” video, where people pull the curtains and record what is happening right outside of their window. There have been similar videos from other recent uprisings, showing the treatment of the protestors by the police in quiet streets and alleyways etc. In Syria, tanks are roaming through the streets, massacres are happening right across the sidewalk. In the tradition of news reportage, most of these videos provide a voice over that aims to contextualize the image. In Areeha | Idlib | FSA Destroys Regime Tank, a recent post on SyrianDaysOfRage’s youtube channel we can see the explosion of a tank captured on the camera of a citizen reporter. First we see the street through the window, a tank enters the frame from the right side and is hit by a missile. It immediately catches fire and accelerates, while the civilian reporter stops the narration and repeatedly chants allahu akbar.

Areeha | Idlib | FSA Destroys Regime Tank, youtube stil frame

The tank goes behind a tree and explodes right outside of the window, over-exposes, pixelates and wipes out the image briefly at the moment of explosion. Shattered pieces of the tank scatter over the rooftops, and fall right outside the window, the camera [man] is moved by the shockwaves and the video ends with the image of red drapes at the corner of the window, while the man still chants allahu akbar. This is one of the most dramatic and intense videos of this kind, showing a city turned into a war zone. This form of newscast, unmediated by the figure of the reporter in front of the camera, with his/her back to the event, has become an accepted format in journalism. Now there is nothing between the journalist and the event, and all Syrian buildings and interiors have become news headquarters, and all civilians war correspondences. Syrian windows have become screens opening to a theatre of destruction.

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Shifting locations

May 22, 2012 Comments off

The image on the internet is an image of the internet. Its provenance does not lose its relevance, but it is re-rendered after it is encoded into HTML.  Thus the image is subject to the modes of application, taxonomy, access and classification on the internet. As such the series of interfaces, and the lines of encryption that assign its location are part and parcel of its modes of signification. Each of these processes further “inform” the image in Flusserian terms.

youtube in the room, Constant Dullaart, youtube still frame

Artist Constant Dullaart, for instance, investigates how these digital vernaculars affect human gestures e.g. in becoming a DVD player’s screen saver in Joshua Tree, California; or how what was known as video, is now filtered through an online interface e.g. youtube in the room, where the youtube play button stands between the room and the camera. In this piece, it also prompts to certain objectivity of the interface as the sign is printed on transparency and held in front of the camera, and thus at times a reflection makes the filtering layer visible. It is a play button that does not operate in a click. This however does not imply a mere reduction of discourse to medium specificity, rather, it is a shifting location of experience that is significant. While for instance the urban and landscape experience was for the most part a horizontal one (with the exception of post WW I reconnaissance), now it is a combination of a vertical and a horizontal form of navigation. Thus the image of the city, has changed as it is encountered through navigation interfaces and maps. This shift of location of experience is highlighted in many of contemporary commercials, online and on television, where the product is advertised through a series of actions performed by the protagonist on a gadget, mostly a device that takes photos, a touchscreen browser, or a combination of both. Needless to say that these are not advertisement of the mediatory device. Thus an experience that is not worthy of mediation is discarded and unworthy of being advertised.

Premier League – Last moments – My Reaction. Manchester City win Title. United Fan. CJB, youtube still frame

As explained in the title, the youtube video Premier League – Last moments – My Reaction. Manchester City win Title. United Fan. CJB, shows a man’s reaction to the final minutes of Champion’s league final game. In the video we see a man watching soccer, in his living room, sometimes talking to his girlfriend (who we do not see), while we also see that two laptop computers logged onto Facebook on two coffee tables. Here, a feeling (of loss in this case) is experienced through its online representation, without which is not worth feeling. The video though, is hardly unique, there were too many reactions to the final minutes of the game online that talkSPORTmagazine has created an online compilation of them. Nevertheless, although these emotions were not experienced offline, they are hardly unique to each individual.

Single image of two

May 21, 2012 Comments off

On Monday, May 21, 2012, a bomber blew himself in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, killing more than 90 people and leaving 222 injured, says Yemen’s defense ministry, according to the BBC.

On youtube, there is a one minute video with the title 21/05/12 – Yemen Suicide Bomb Kills At Least 96 Soldiers. The video, does not show footage of the bombing or the security, paramedic or media responses to the event. It does not show images of blood-covered dead bodies on the asphalt, burning cars, crying witnesses, frantic policemen. Rather, following a Corona Light commercial, it is a silent, still image of a bomb going off in what appears to be a village on the edge of the desert. Half through the video, the image disappears and a text takes its place over a black screen: at least 40 soldiers have been killed in Yemen following a terrorist bombing. The discrepancy between the image and the title, might be due to the difference between the total casualties and the military casualties, leaving a total of 50 civilian deaths. What is significant about this video, is not the information that it is sharing, but rather the way that it is relaying this information. It recalls conceptual art strategies of media displacements, using one medium to address the other, here a photograph as video, a text as a still image and video. A picture of a bombing, here becomes a symbol for bombing, no matter what is the source and the context of the image. One image of explosion, the video suggests, can be used to visualize other explosions. Curiously, through google image search, it appears to be that the image of the explosion used in the video, is in fact not from Yemen. Rather, its related to the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan by US forces, and among other articles, it accompanies a BBC report on developments towards a new treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs in combat. A treaty that “[t]he US has rejected …, saying the weapons have a place in its arsenal,” according to the BBC, adding that “The charity Handicap International estimates that 98% of those killed and injured by the weapons are non-combatants,” while “27 percent are children,” according to New York Times. While the predator and the victims differ, a single image of explosion encompasses the horror of modern warfare. The video also shows how photograph transfigures from an image to symbol.

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tagged image

May 12, 2012 Comments off

There is no lack of literature on images’ contingency on the representational context, how their meaning could alter according to accompanying text, placement, frame, order of appearance, etc. A recent example of an image’s shift of meaning is Mona Eltahawy’s recent publicity stunt on Foreign Policy, where the image of beating of an Egyptian woman by the military forces, (known as the Blue Bra Girl) was used to illustrate how men in the Middle East hate women. However, this image/text relationship has entered a new phase in web 2.0.

While previously images’ meaning altered or was affected by their positioning in the media and how they were contextualized, now they can be permanently tied to a set of words, according to both the text that accompanies them, but also, (and more importantly) to tag words. These tags could direct images to particular directions and define them within certain political and ideological landscapes. While for instance on the one hand the Blue Bra Girl is was tied to the Egyptian Revolution, on the other hand now has also has ties with that particular article, its writer and also its publisher. The same stands for other indigenous journalist’s videos , whose tag words more often than not are already hijacked by political and/or commercial forces on the web. Legends of metal music are a click away from The Syrian Days Of Rage youtube channel.

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May 12, 2012 Comments off

Racine’s Phaedra must die not because the flame of her incestuous love for her stepson burns so black, as she complains, but rather because after two hours the smoky candles in the Paris theaters had burned out.

In Optical Media, Kittler notes how the unavailability of durable light sources effected literary compositions, and as such dramas by Corneille or Racine, for instance, never exceeded 3,000 alexandrines. The lack of stage lighting technologies caused the early death of characters or their expedited their fall from grace. He also mentions how technologies similar to those used in theater were also used to summon apparitions and the eventual suicide of tricksters after their tricks were exposed. The ghosts and the protagonists’ lifespan was tied to the available technologies of perception. A similar imposed technological restraint is the ten minute maximum video time on youtube, due to bandwith limits.

annoying orange squash nylan cat

While these restrictions are now for the most part uplifted (the limit was raised to fifteen and now to unlimited for privileged users, the new fifteen minute restriction is more due to copyright rules), but the limits shaped the world of online video and set a standard that most outlets have taken, even though that technically they  no longer face those limitations. Thus, the Annoying Orange for instance, will seldom exceed even five minutes, and neither do most other web series. The ten minute limit set the tone for the duration of video files on youtube, just like the wax candles in the theaters set the limits of dramas.

Child taping what remains of his house

May 8, 2012 Comments off

In the youtube video Child taping what remains of his house, we see a boy filming a pile of rubble which used to be a house. It is of course difficult to confirm if the house belongs to the child and his family, but nevertheless, that is what the title suggests. The man who is filming the child first approaches him as a news reporter approaches a subject of interview in a war zone, and as he gets closer he apparently asks: can you tell me what you see? Which also could be read as “can you tell me what you are filming?” The child responds to the question and other questions posed by the man. Both of them are clearly acting a scenario and the footage also implies a spoof on official/traditional television reportage (they even laugh at some point to a joke that the child makes).

Child taping what remains of his house, youtube still frame

The same video a few years ago would show the child in front of the rubble talking to the camera, now both the child and the other camera are filming. The child delegates the task of experiencing the destruction of his house to the camera, similar to a tourist in front of an ancient a ruin. He does not want to be the represented, but rather the one who represents. Here, in the words of Adorno, one can witness the triumph of representation over what is represented. Not unlike the journalist, the child is also interested in dissecting the site of destruction with a camera, to describe what he can see and highlight the economy of access, but this time to his own rubble. Friedrich Kittler mentions a 1902 German Reich law that gave every man and woman the “right to one’s own image,” here the camera gives the child the right to his own rubble. This gives rise to a new figure of victim, one that is detached from his own destruction by a digital camera. A victim who removes himself from the ruin and whose “rejection of experience can provisionally embody a legitimate defense,” in words of Agamben. A generation that grew up looking at monitors from the point of view of first-person shooter games can now experience its own habitat as the game zone.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Comments on Rodney King video on youtube on the 20th anniversary of LA riots

May 2, 2012 Comments off

Comments on the Rodney Kind video on youtube on the 20th anniversary of LA riots of 1992. All material is directly copied and pasted from the youtube page Rodney King tape on national news.flv
The images are screen shots from all the links on youtube’s right sidebar of the same page.

Rodney King tape on national news.flv, youtube still frame

haha, you ignorant prick. He ended up receiving 3.8 million from his lawsuit. I would call THAT getting what he deserves.
knewknew in reply to FlacidFicklePickle (Show the comment) 3 days ago

the PCP allegations were never proven. People assumed that because of the beating he took. All the cops had to do was put him into handcuffs, and into the squad car. But no, they beat the shit out him. The entire Rodney King case (and the riot that followed) had nothing to do with Rodney King, but rather the excessive force that cops use in situations like these all of the time in LA.
knewknew in reply to SuperJerkyBoys (Show the comment) 3 days ago

Yeah but he’d been arrested for posession of schedule 4 drugs, for beating his wife, and evading arrest before any of this even happened. If you’re honestly trying to defend Rodney King it just makes you ignorant. Did the cops fuck up? Absolutely. More importantly a multiple time offender got off with nothing, and made almost 4 million dollars. That’s bullshit.
BTW I don’t give a shit bout the drug conviction…pot is Sch. 4 and I love it hah. King is a dirtbag, so were the cops bottom line.
chennighausen in reply to knewknew (Show the comment) 2 days ago

What are you Rodney Kings lawyer ???
FACT, if not for Rodney King acting like an asshole, all the people wouldn’t have died in the riots.
How many times has Rodney King been arrested since 1992 ??
SuperJerkyBoys in reply to knewknew (Show the comment) 2 days ago

Comment removed
Author withheld
Jungle bunny getting what he deserves
FlacidFicklePickle 3 days ago

If Rodney King wasn’t high on PCP driving 100 MPH this never would have happend.
Thirty six people died in the riots that followed because of this stupid fuck !
SuperJerkyBoys 3 days ago

This has been flagged as spam show
Jeff Fisher 3 days ago

This has been flagged as spam show
Jeff Fisher 3 days ago

with all the hand outs and special treatment the niggers get we should be allowed to smash thier fuckin heads in like this anytime we want.
dstrbd24 3 days ago

This has been flagged as spam show
SeajayUKHalo in reply to dstrbd24 (Show the comment) 3 days ago

remyworldpeace in reply to dstrbd24 (Show the comment) 3 days ago

You small minded inbred white trailer trash wanker…..and yes I am white ….scum like you embarrass normal people… what a tosser
toxicbobbyb in reply to dstrbd24 (Show the comment) 3 days ago

Comment removed
Author withheld
On second thought, white people probably WOULD have made it into a racial issue…
therealdaviddavidson in reply to ThePakiSami (Show the comment) 3 days ago

Can you imagine if a few black officers had beaten down a white kid? Nothing could go wrong there because it’s not racist at all.
ThePakiSami 3 days ago 3

So you’re saying if black officers beat down a white kid, it’s not wrong?
MrSleepygrizzly in reply to ThePakiSami (Show the comment) 3 days ago

The riots only came after the cops were all acquitted of assault despite the damning video evidence. That combined with previous racial disparity perceived by the black people in Los Angeles at the time is what made it, for them, a racial issue. If a bunch of black officers had been caught on video beating up a white kid and then got acquitted, white people would not make it into a racial issue because they would have no reason to suspect it was so.
therealdaviddavidson in reply to ThePakiSami (Show the comment) 3 days ago

Maybe if he wasn’t on crack and driving 100 miles an hour putting alot of people in harms way, it wouldn’t of ending up like this!!! Reality check….red and blue lights flashing….pull the fuck over dumb ass!!! Unless your on crack and drinking and driving and on probation for robbery!!!
tapout2977 in reply to Murdism (Show the comment) 3 days ago

You are either extremely racist, or extremely unsympathetic. Either way you’re not doing yourself any good in preparing for the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
UndergroundBlack88 in reply to Murdism (Show the comment) 3 days ago

At what point do you have to wait for enough police officers to subdue this man? All the police officers that were there could have easily handcuffed this man without hitting him once with a PR-24. If all of them together could not subdue this man with their bare hands they need to find another profession. It’s a shame that all of the officers were not fired, pensions forfeited and thrown in jail. BTW I am a retired police officer and a former deparmental firearms and PR-24 instructor.
IntoDust24 3 days ago

1:08 Why you showing a black guy taking a black guy away? Thats not racist.
vette543211 3 days ago

Why did the police beat that poor negroe? He didnt look like he was fighting back.
Trashfished 3 days ago
fuck the police
eazy700ify 3 days ago
They need to stop calling it “civil rights”, its black rights.
Huntmaster555 3 days ago
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
RassBrass 3 days ago

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April 18, 2012 Comments off

New York based artist Artie Vierkant’s Image Objects address this online mutation of the exhibition object although in a more roundabout and complex manner. The images are first produced digitally, then rendered into UV prints on sintra and eventually the (official) documentation of the pieces is again altered digitally, not accurately presenting the physical object. Vierkant highlights the ambiguous location of the work between the physical space of the gallery and the web. Already in his essay Dispersion, Seth Price points to a similar ambiguity with regards to the “Daniel Pearl Video” noting that since it does not exist outside of the internet, it may not be correct to call it “video.” Vierkat takes this a step further by putting forth a work that questions the ontological distinctions of the work’s location.

Artie Vierkant, Image Objects (left) Monday 25 April 2011 8:01PM (right) Monday 25 April 2011 11:01PM, (altered) Wednesday 20 September 2011 3:25PM

In Phil Chang’s Cache, Active at LAXART, a series of photographs some contact prints of negatives, some photograms were printed on unfixed expired photographic paper. The photographs encompassed various pictorial traditions of portraiture , still life, landscape, abstraction, and appropriated imagery, all faded to a monochrome with the light required to view them in the gallery. They were printed on expired photo paper and were not chemically fixed to last the exhibition lights. Contrary to the work of the 17th century dramatists, these pictures faded, over-exposed to the light that made them visible but similar to them their lifespan was defined by light. Regardless of the particular significance of the work in the canon of photographic theory, or its being an iconoclastic commentary on the move from mere representation pictures to [abstract] art, they provide a [rather metaphoric] take on the relationship between [media] exposure and visual meaning production. It is images’ “exposure” as “public exhibition” and sense of “situation with regard to sun or weather,” that ultimately makes them invisible. The images are the “spam of the earth,” the visual excess, by-product of the universal dominance of exchange value that make representation invisible through over production. What makes the work visible/consumable is what eventually erases the works’ features. It is the exchange value that eventually undermines the works’ use value and makes it useless, the commodity renders insignificance all features of a thing as long as it is sold, to paraphrase one critic’s commentary on the exhibition.

Phil Chang, (left) Two Sheets of Thick Paper on Top of Two Sheets of Thin Paper, Unfixed Silver Gelatin Print, 2010; (right) Monochrome Exposed, Unfixed Silver Gelatin Print, 2012

But while such critical assumptions could be valid considering the work’s presence in the gallery, they are immediately dismantled in the works’ representation on the internet. Ironically, in an article that argues the works’ significance as a critique of capitalism, the un-faded picture is featured at its most clarity together with the monochrome and it is the process that is absent but described in the text. While the images fade out in the gallery space, they preside on the web and after the exhibition is dismantled (if not even while it’s on view) they become the work even though its destination was not the web initially. However, this is not unique to these works, (and this text is not a critique of these particular works) even if it particularly affects their reception, and thus their meaning significantly. The life of Chang’s images on the web point to the problematic of identifying the location, and destination of the work in the age of global connectivity. The work’s assumed contingency upon the spatial presence of the observer within a defined pocket of time is dependent on the availability of its digital rendering online.

Youtube still frame, Formation of Sham Al-Yasmeen battalion - FSA, Published on Apr 18, 2012 by SyrianDaysOfRage

In a video posted on youtube, a group of Syrian insurgents declare the formation of their group. What stands out is not necessarily the formation of a new revolutionary battalion in the midst of what is bordering a civil war, but rather the laptop placed in front of the groups leader making the announcement. The video—if we can call it video as its physical existence is in question— makes it clear that the group is constituted as an online entity as well as a physical one and possibly in spite of it. The leader (or representative) of the group while reads the text directly from a word processor, could also be addressing another group of viewers via videochat. The declaration of the formation of the group is inseparable from the meme that its contributing to, one might suggest that it is prompted by it.

visible darkness

February 22, 2012 Comments off

“broadcast yourself” was youtube’s offering to the world. There was suddenly no need for a television mediator, but rather, anyone, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a simple video camera could potentially be viewed by anyone in any corner of the world with an internet connection. You can become a cooking channel, a porn star, an idler, a hunter, a documentarist, a voyeur, a detective, a bird watcher, a cat watcher, a TV impersonator, an artist, anything on youtube. But whatever it is that you put on youtube, it is a video file i.e. image cast in time. Curiously it is not only videos that ended up on youtube: youtube also became a listening station and a photo album. Photographs had to stretch out into time and sounds had to visualize, they had to become a video file. JPEG’s into MOV, GIF’s into MPEG’s, MP3’s and WAVE files had to be converted into movie files to be viewed on youtube. On youtube the traditional boundaries between disciplines are transcended all in favor of video, of a particular group of file extensions. In cinema photographs were shown as photographs, music was heard as music, on youtube all become a video file. But other than the appropriation of video format by sound and image, on youtube darkness makes itself visible.

An example of this is the videos of night protests in the aftermath of the Iranian presidential elections of 2009. Every night at 10pm protestors went to their rooftops and shouted Allahu Akbar. The darkness of the night camouflaged the protestors so that they would not be spotted by the security forces. It was the eerie sound of the rooftop chorus in the absence of image that was particular to these nightcaps. But the documents of these actions were not sound clips, but rather they were videos up loaded on youtube. It was the image of the absence of image that documented these actions. What we see in these videos is the sound of darkness. Most of these videos are identical, a few lit windows, headlights, the general image of a city in the dark, but not much more. They are devoid of all detail. They do not represent the picture of the city at night, as most of them do not have a dramatic view from top of a tower. It is in these videos that darkness performs for the camera. Here the image maker is not documenting the event that cannot be seen, but rather s/he is documenting his/her presence in the event. The videos aim to document an experience, not an image. In a letter dating to 599, Gregory the Great wrote of a similar concern: we do not harm in wishing to show the invisible by means of visible.