by tom moodyComments Off on MySpace Intros and Art History
A couple of people who police the Rhizome.org comment threads for "correct thinking" love to construct historic timelines for every current development. We can learn from the precedents and mistakes of art history, we are told, therefore these lineages enhance our understanding of work.
But honestly, what kind of precedent (net art or non-net art) exists for this:
Artist "collects" his favorite MySpace intros (videos people made in the mid-'00s welcoming people to their page), with an eye to: the amateurish, the banal, the pathetic, the cultural "other."
Artist posts the collection to YouTube as a playlist, so that the videos are viewed by a different audience than the original, intended audience (YouTube, where people go to watch music videos and funny slice-of-life videos, and this all happened before the Google acquisition when it was a relatively new video hosting service).
institutionalizing the collection
The slender act of collecting and shifting the context strikes some people as "art-like," so the YouTube playlist is written about and linked to by institutions as "art."
A video "version" of the work is created for museums without any links to MySpace or YouTube.
An artist who wrote about the work pre-institutional phase and the curator who presented it institutionally do not agree on the scope, nature or parameters of the work. A disinterested critic offered yet a third interpretation.
So where exactly are art historical precedents to be applied? What was even remotely like MySpace and YouTube before MySpace and YouTube?
Next: What MySpace Intro Playlist would look like if it were mail art. (Hint: strained comparison)