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Kutiman mixes YouTube: funky mashup site

Another option YouTube offers are the so-called embedded links that facilitate integration of YouTube videos into all types of other environments, from personal websites and amateur or professional blogs to the online services of traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and television channels. YouTube even explicitly encourages such embeddings, as is evidenced by the proposed links to several other Web 2.0 platforms.12 The YouTube database, in other words, is accessible not only through the one interface that Google manages itself. While surfing the Internet, a user can encounter moving images branded with the companys logo almost anywhere. When a video has been watched through an embedded link, the viewer is offered the possibility of looking at so-called related material, too. The user can thus navigate the database from an external site also, albeit with fewer options. The YouTube database, however, does not only consist of video les, but also contains titles, brief descriptions called info, tags, hyperlinks to the uploaders site or to related material, as well as user comments of variable, and sometimes quite extensive, proportions. In addition, it stores data concerning the number of views, popularity ratings, agging rates, recursive links and other kinds of statistical information. In fact, video retrieval and management depend fundamentally upon such user-generated input provided as text. Since moving-image les are not machine-readable meaning that the program cannot identify the semantic content of this kind of le information management relies on metadata that names, describes or categorizes whatever there is to be seen. This is an essentially hybrid constellation, since users provide semantic input, which the machine then processes algorithmically, producing different types of clustering with a corresponding organization of video les and metadata.13 Ultimately, this technological infrastructure can be seen as a specic affordance enabling new forms of media practice. In a way, thus, understanding YouTube means describing it in terms of a hybrid interaction where humans and machines users and information management systems are inextricably linked. One could also refer to the approach formulated by the so-called Actor-Network theory, according to which human and non-human actors have to be considered equally important in the constitution of social interaction.14 As the way in which YouTube and other Web 2.0 applications such as Flickr, Facebook and other function depends fundamentally on the way in which they succeed in channeling user activities into software design, one could describe them in terms of what Tim OReilly addressed as architecture of participation, which is also in a way akin to Bruno Latours analyses of translations of social protocols 278 279 Storage

The McCain greenscreen challenge: Star Trek version

No such videos exist for Barack Obama. In fact, except for a few videos that mock Obamas sometimes hesitant delivery and catch him losing his train of thought in a campaign speech, there seems to be very little footage that allows remix artists to portray him in a defamatory way by rearranging words, sentences or facial expressions. It would be naive to assume that this is a coincidence. In his second book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama tells the story of how his Republican opponent, a politician who went on to self-destruct about halfway through the campaign, not unlike many of Obamas other opponents so far in his career, hired a young videographer to follow him around for days on end. The idea was to tape every occurrence that might portray Obama in an unfavorable light and hurt his electoral prospects, precisely the setup that Jim Webb used to entrap George Allen two years later.16 Obama tells the story to illustrate the kind of tactics that political campaigns use, without condemning or condoning the tactic as such (after all, he went on to campaign for Jim Webb in Virginia in 2006; these appearances are amply documented on YouTube too). But for Obama, the story is also a metaphor for the constant scrutiny he was and still is under. For him to lose his cool in front of a camera would have meant morphing into the stereotype of the angry black man, thereby endangering any aspiration he could have to appeal to white mainstream voters. In fact, as one can tell from the relevant passages in his rst book, he developed early on in his life a sense of how to behave amongst white people to make them feel safe and secure.17 It is probably not too farfetched to speculate that this particular sense of self-awareness not only helped Obama develop a successful media personality as he entered the political stage. It also helped him gain, or rather retain, almost complete control of himself as a YouTube personality. His performances on camera are always pitch-perfect as he alternates between a trademark look of bemused detachment and a pose of engaged earnestness, occasionally throwing in his now world-famous smile for good measure. Accordingly one could argue that YouTube introduces a new discipline of politics as performance. YouTube creates a public sphere, or sub-sphere, that is relentlessly unforgiving to those who slip up. It forces a new degree of restraint and self-control on politicians who want to appeal and succeed beyond their core constituencies. But then again, as in the case of Barack Obama, one could argue that the world that YouTube made favors those who already possess such restraint and self-control. It would seem that George Allen, much like the regrettably addled John McCain, represents the contrary case: a politician who did not understand the new discipline of politics as performance, who lost his self-control on camera and was punished for it. However, if you look at the macaca moment video clip closely, it becomes evident that George Allen clearly knew what he was doing. He did not just insult a dark-skinned bystander and get caught in the act. He knew who Sidarth was, that he worked for the Webb campaign, and that he followed him around to tape precisely the kind of occurrence that Allen: one is tempted to say: almost generously produced for him. Of course, one could still try to read the macaca moment as a case of lack of restraint, and even an understandable one at that: the pressure became too much for Allen, he lost his cool and threw a tantrum. But that is not what happened. The insult is couched in a relatively elaborate argument about the difference between Jim Webbs Virginia and the real Virginia, the conservative parts where Allens constituents live. Allen is making fun of Webb for sending his videographer rather than coming to visit these parts of the state himself. By doing so, Allen is merely rehearsing a standard argument from the Republican campaign arsenal, carving out a difference between real, i.e. conservative, white Southern Americans, and everyone else, particularly brown and black people. Marking out this difference is the rhetorical essence of Nixons famous Southern strategy, whereby the Republican party moved to provide a new political tent to disenfranchised Southern Democrats in the wake of Lyndon B. Johnsons civil rights legislation of 258 259 Form

Welcome to America: George Allens macaca moment

Sidarths tape furnished incontrovertible proof of Allens racist slipup and was picked up by national television networks, creating a major political controversy that dominated news coverage for several days. Allen, in fact, had to go on Meet the Press, the agship of the Sunday morning political talk shows, and try to explain his way out of what he had said at his campaign rally. But to no avail. The meme of Allens subliminal racism was set, and in short order investigative journalists dug up stories of other examples of racists outbursts from friends and former colleagues. They even found out that Allen had something of a fetish for the Confederate ag, which he had used to decorate his home 252 253 Form

Marc Aug on YouTube stills from Non-Places | Are Airports Non-Places

Aug states that the individual, at least in Western societies, wants to be a world in himself; he intends to interpret the information delivered to him by himself and for himself. 6 He further argues that the supermodernity of our contemporary world points to a need for radical rethinking of the notion of place. He uses the concept of anthropological place, and contrasts this place of identity, relations and of history to the non-places of supermodernity. Clearly the word non-place designates two complementary but distinct realities: spaces formed in relation to certain ends (transport, transit, commerce, leisure), and the relations that individuals have with these spaces. 7 Although places and 348 349 Storage

Zidane vs. Materazzi

Most clips on YouTube that can be related to the topic of sports do not contribute to the communication on sports in this narrower sense. One of the typical modes of appropriation in YouTube takes cultural products, be it a lm or a sports competition, and transforms its meaning by re-staging or re-editing it. These kinds of clips are interesting because they are somehow between the database logic dened by the sports discourse and YouTubes dynamic of recontextualization that goes way beyond sports comparison of performances. The decisive scenes of the 2008 Super Bowl, for example, famous for its surprising outcome and also for the most remarkable performances, can be watched as real video as well as an animation done with an early, now nearly classic football computer game.22 Still, it is signicant for sports that these appropriations are used to understand and discuss the real happenings and to criticize the television commentary. The more weird appropriations of sports events dont aim at the most accurate re-staging of the happenings, but they can still be related to sports incentive to discover how it happened. Take the innumerable video comments on the infamous headbutt by Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup nal of 2006. Using visual effects, videos commenting on the event replace, for example, one of the two players involved with a lamppost, an armed terrorist, and so on. Thus, they still contribute, at least on a metaphorical level, to the ongoing speculation concerning what really happened on the eld and what the reasons were for this behavior. While these examples, then, are still connected to the communication on sports, using various remediations to gain insight into real happenings, they obviously go beyond mere comparison of performances. Naturally, YouTube is a huge machine for relating and comparing; even a single clip often presents sequences or rankings of comparable items, from the best touchdowns and the most embarrassing knockouts to the sexiest athletes. YouTubes various mechanisms of linking different clips guarantee that there are no clear criteria and no borders for comparisons. This means, for example, that the worst fouls or the sexiest athletes are compared, that changes from different leagues and different levels are comparable, and of course, it also means that the appropriation of a sporting event by means of a computer game is related to similar appropriations of a lm or anything else. There is, quite simply, no specic means of comparison that ts the very systematic requirements of sports. Where YouTube contributes to the comparison of sports performances, it does so on the basis of and in close connection with other media. The embedding of videos in online forums, blogs, etcetera involves them in a communication on sports that is not identiable as a distinct eld on the pages of YouTube. Conclusion While YouTube is, as a database, well integrated into the media sports complex, the sites way of relating and comparing are at the moment of no particular use for modern competitive sports. This doesnt mean that YouTubes modes of comparison are chaotic, unreliable or of no use at all. Rather, it remains signicant that practices that are somehow connected to sports but cant be considered sports according to the more narrow denition benet from the dynamics of YouTube and might 246 247 Form

Turkey Bowling: Practicing sports in inapproriate surroundings

Sports is not understood here as a topic, but rather as a eld of knowledge and communication that follows specic rules. My main argument is that the established modes and procedures in media sports are still retraceable on YouTube (and contribute some of their dynamics to it), but that the dynamics of YouTube somehow subvert the main procedures of media sports. Thus, sports on YouTube is in some aspects tied to other media but in others detached. Insofar as it is detached from other media content and dened dominantly by YouTubes own procedures and practices, sports becomes, interestingly enough, less and less sports at least in a more narrow sense that will be elaborated upon below. 236 237 Form

In Loving Memory: Brandon Chris Swartwood (1982 2000)

Research ndings have indicated the social and psychological importance of the Web as a communal site where private grief can be expressed and responded to by others with similar experiences. Sites such as www.1000deaths.com provide an entire community of grief The possibility of immediate response on the Web may help the makers of video tributes in the sense that the subject of their loss is acknowledged by an audience. Also, there are comments written in sympathy and support of the videomaker and messages that convey that deeper sense of understanding only extended by someone who has endured a similar hardship. Meanwhile, by putting family images and private grief on display in the form of a video tribute, individuals also expose themselves to mere voyeurism and the fact that, on YouTube, total strangers will look at their private tragedy, and whether or not they cry when looking, there is also the thrill of the real, the inexplicable attraction of spectacular deaths, and a sense of relief. On YouTube, the perverse voyeurism implied in the suicide memorial is emphasized by the archival logic of sorting videos into a cluster according to a specic theme. As a result, tributes to victims of suicide appear side by side with videos promising spectacular suicides in realtime.41 230 231 Form

Teen Suicide - A memorial video

From Grief Culture to Rhetorical Construction The suicide memorial is the label of a specic category of video tributes on YouTube. Similar to websites organized by, and in support of, relatives struck by the loss, grief and desperation caused by the suicides of loved ones, the suicide memorial most clearly offers a private shrine for public use which is at the same time a site that may provide comfort, or communal consolation, to a virtual community based on shared loss. Similar to videos made in memory of dead children (death by accident According to the information provided by organizations and fundraisers in connection with suicide memorials on YouTube, harassment and school bullying represent an important social problem that also explains the high rate of teenagers and young adults who commit suicide in the US every year. Bullying leads to bullycide is a typical message conveyed by the organized suicide memorial. In the fragmentary account of an interlinked series of photographs, the actual life story of the deceased can only be imagined, and a description of the complex reality of mental 228 229 Form

In Tribute to Jeff Soriano, a patchwork of photographs

dates of the deceased. A text insert claries: On April 20, 2007 Jeff Nielson Santodomingo Soriano died tragically in a car accident. Sorianos tombstone is shown in the following image, and then a caption informs the viewer that June 22, 2008 would have been his 20th birthday [] but we, all of his friends and family will always remember the good times with him. The ensuing montage of snapshots show Jeff as a baby, Jeff and his cousins growing up, Jeff as a student, and party images of Jeff and his friends. Different from the regular funeral video, this is an elaborate collage of a large amount of photographs that rhythmically appears to the music in singular frames, or by two or several in the same image. In the nal sequence, the camera pulls back to reveal an immense patchwork of photographs, which nally morphs into one big portrait of Jeff. A nal caption ends the video: We will never forget you, Jeff. So far, the video has been seen by 351 viewers, although the small number of text commentaries are mostly posted by other friends and relatives, all positive and encouraging. RegiSor94 reads and answers the questions written in response to his work, and he recently made a new tribute to Soriano. In the introduction that appears below the title of the video, he writes:This is a video that is long overdue. I edited the original version for a commemorative DVD for my cousin, but I always wanted to upload it for all of his friends and family. I wanted to make people aware of this truly tragic event, which was only triggered by that other incredibly tragic event at Virginia Tech. But I truly re-edited this to insure that we all never forget Jeff, a truly wonderful person. To Jeff, this ones for you, cousin. We all miss you very much. You were one of the good ones. And special thanks to his brother Eugene for keeping Jeff in our hearts and minds. And to Jana, for rekindling his memory in me so that I could create this video for everyone. The music is Switchfoots This is Your Life. 30 Aside from the important aspect of domestic representation, the memorial videos lmic quality of animated photographs accompanied by sound suggests a reference to the history of amateur lm. Similar to the family lm, the video tribute often reproduces the blurred images of the home movie. In terms of social representation it provides a fragmentary, anonymous and incomplete record, while nevertheless indicating obvious markers of class, race and gender. Yet, there are decisive differences between the memorial video tribute and the home movie that go beyond the different media technologies per se. The maker of a memorial video does not typically consider videomaking a hobby, nor does she or he make a record of the happy now of family life to be reviewed later on. However, there are examples that bring attention to the interrelated practices of the home movie, the video tribute and amateur lmmaking. In Tribute to Jeff Soriano was made by one of his cousins who, in 2007 , shortly after a lethal car accident, added this video on YouTube under the name of RegiSor94.29 It begins with an image from the accident site, where somebody put a piece of wood with the name and Apparently, the contributor is not only a grieving relative, but an amateur interested in montage technique and cinematic effects. In contrast to the majority of video tributes on YouTube, the latter tribute to Soriano consists of home movies depicting the cousins at various family events at different points in the young Sorianos life. It is an example where the videomaker has chosen to explore the dramatic impact of intertitles while editing the home-movie fragments into a narrative that 226 227 Form

Rest in Peace, in memory of Tracy Pagani

Video tributes are commonly entitled In Memory of X, For X, or Xs Funeral Video, i.e. the loss and commemoration is immediately suggested by the title. In combination with the music, which in most cases seems to have been chosen to emphasize the sad fact of death or the pride with which the memory of the deceased is celebrated, family images transmit the temporal dramaturgy that Roland Barthes ascribed to the affective impact of the photograph. He is dead and he is going to die yet images show somebody uncannily unaware of the approaching ending.8 A series of photographs presenting a person from early childhood to a recent moment preceding her or his death has an existential impact, reinforced by the chosen score, to stress the unique narrative of each individual life story, and to deplore the loss and missed opportunities of a life that was ended too soon. The presence of absence enacted by photographs, and the contrast between the happiness suggested by family footage and the irrevocable fact of death, represent the universal content of the memorial tribute video. Reinforced by the rhythmic and affective frame provided by the music, this representation brings attention to the uses and functions of traditional family footage, within and beyond the context of digital media. A closer look at a single example will illuminate some of these general characteristics in relation to the particular Web context of reception and immediate communication. The video is entitled The Letter. To the sound of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss song Please read the letter that I wrote the title is presented in a red caption. A blurred shot reveals the back of a man approaching a tombstone, followed by a closeup view of the inscription Melinda Ann Smith Beachy. As the song plays, the video presents a series of photographs showing Melinda in her wedding gown, vacation snapshots, as well as fragments of everyday life: Melinda playing with the dogs, reading on a sofa, looking up from her computer, or driving a car. The moving sequence from the beginning of the video reappears once, and there are a few photographs of the grieving husband before the screen darkens as the song fades away. Aside from the video, there are about 40 commentaries posted in reaction to it on YouTube the spontaneous feedback by some of the videos 26,263 viewers.9 Vern Beachy made this tribute in memory of his wife, and in answer to his audience he reveals that Melinda committed suicide. One commentary testies to the coincidental discovery that usually characterizes the reception of YouTube material, and the existential impact and possibly cathartic relief or morbid voyeurism involved in glimpsing the pain of others:I have to thank you for the reply. I didnt expect it. I was having a somewhat bad day at work, took a lunch break to look at a video, and was looking for the video that goes with that song and yours came up. After 220 221 Form