The Guggenheim Museum recently turned its sleek exterior into a multimedia canvas to display selections from “YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video.” More than 23,000 YouTube videos were submitted from around the world and 25 winners were chosen. A visit to the Guggenheim’s web site shows which artists made the grade. Check out some of the winners below.
– Lauryn Barnett
“Bathtub IV” by Ken Loutit
In the latest video for his “Small World” series, Keith Loutit uses his signature tilt-shift filming method, which blurs foregrounds and backgrounds, making objects appear miniature. What first appears to be a fanciful look at a typical beach day on the coast of Australia turns into a suspenseful mini-narrative of a man swept off a rock face into the sea, rescued by a helicopter crew and returned safely to his family. The three-and-a-half minute piece is set to the song “Clementine,” by Megan Washington, whose Regina Spektor-like vocals contrast nicely with the panic that pervades the video. Loutit sped up the footage to conjure the sense of watching a scene from a distance. The video delivers beauty and drama through his stylized lens, giving us the perspective to enjoy the scenery and a tiny moment of rejoicing when the man is rescued.
– Megan Finnegan
“Birds on the Wires” by Jarbas Agnelli
Imagine seeing a sound or hearing an image. It’s a rare gift that Brazilian artist Jarbas Agnelli shares in “Birds on the Wires.” The whimsical minute-long piece took shape when Agnelli opened his morning paper to a picture of birds perched on telephone wires that seemed like notes arranged on a musical score. Agnelli scored them for xylophone, clarinet, bassoon and oboe, creating a sweet, staccato melody played over the original image, filmed in a steady, sweeping pan that adds a nostalgic, carousel-like rhythm to the piece. The artist, however inspired, is reluctant to take credit for the music. That, he says, is for the birds.
– Jordan Shakeshaft
“Words” by Everynone (Will Hoffman, Daniel Mercandante & Julius Metoyer III)
“Words” is a simple yet stunning collage of both the mundane and fantastic moments life offers us. Through photographs and video clips accompanied by an original score by Keith Kenniff, the piece strings seemingly random acts together through a common implied word or phrase. From the first frame showing a finger pressing play, the viewer must connect the scenes as they fly by (a school play, a football play, playing the trumpet, etc.). No act or image is forbidden, from the endearing (two old men sharing a banana split) to the uncouth (a woman performing oral sex on a man). “Words” shows that while language may be limited, verbal associations are as infinite as space: the video closes with a photo of outer space followed by the space bar on a keyboard.
– Krissy Dolor
“Noteboek” by Evelien Lohbeck
Can the convergence of art, society and technology be communicated through a YouTube video? Evelien Lohbeck answers with “Noteboek,” a set of four experimental films within a film. The video shows an artist’s notebook in which an illustrated laptop comes to life, with pen lines replacing graphics, allowing the (real) user to interact with an illustrated Web browser, guitar, scanner, handheld mirror and toaster. Running close to five minutes, Lohbeck’s work is longer than most of the winners, but it’s also among the most exciting: it snags the imagination with seamless animation that questions where art ends and technology begins.
– Vineeth Thomas
“The Huber Experiments: Volume One” by Erik and Matthew Huber
Spilled milk is nothing to cry about, especially for Erik and Matthew Huber. The filmmaker brothers captured spilling drinks and flying food in their video, “The Huber Experiments: Volume One.” The two-minute video shows cocktails, tomato soup, a bowl of cereal and a whole chicken being catapulted from dishes in slow motion. Filmed with a Phantom HD camera at 960 frames per second, the video shows the movement of the food in extreme detail. The cereal doesn’t just slosh out of its bowl, but instead rises in a wave of fruit loops, then crashes on to the table. The colors of the food – pink and blue drinks, golden brown chicken, bright green salad – stand out against the stark white background, and the calm piano music makes the whole show seem like a dance. Making a mess has never looked so good.
– Jessica Dailey