Sunday November 26, 7:30pm
Constant Dullaart
YouTube as a Subject
Constant Dullaart and Ben Coonley in person

Youtube as a Subject

From “YouTube dvd bounce” by Constant Dullaart (from the series YouTube as a Subject, 2008) – Image courtesy of the artist

Microscope is pleased to present an evening of screening and discussion around the 2008 internet art project “YouTube as a Subject” by Dutch artist Constant Dullaart.

In 2008, prompted by his research for medium-specificity in artworks existing online and his dissatisfaction with the poor design and quality of the YouTube interface, the Amsterdam based artist made and uploaded to YouTube a series of seven videos the subject and sole content of which was the center screen YouTube play button, which in his works did not disappear, but remained visible, moving, shifting color, collapsing, etc.

Much to his surprise, one night a few days later he received 7 comments from user “ilovetoeatmice” – the handle of Brookyn-based artist Ben Coonley – each in the form of a separate short video referencing the “loading circle” feature, a series that Coonley titled “7 Responses to Constant Dullaart’s YouTube as a Subject”. Not long after, Dullaart received other responses by artists around the globe, expanding the original purpose and reach of the project and turning it into a community-based work, made possible by the nature of social-media as well as the technical abilities of the early YouTube platform.

“The art I wanted to create would have to utilize specific qualities the web had to offer, that other media could not offer. Surrounded by a young generation of artists enthusiastic about a medium, questioning how it is used, and ironically quoting its new vernacular, I found myself interested in the formal aspects of the Internet. What were the parameters and browser limits? What were projects that could be done now, in this time of metaphysical reflection on a medium? How would these online art projects fit in the traditional art world; in other words, how could they be commodified, exhibited, or sold?” – CD

The project however did not end there. Dullaart, inspired by Coonley’s works, went on to produce a physical embodiment of the loading circle as 8 large styrofoam balls against a black background each illuminated in sequence by a spotlight in his 2009 “Youtube as a Sculpture”. Other offline incarnations also emerged, some taking the shape of moulding on a wall (“Youtube as a sculpture (moulding)”, 2013) or vinyl sticker on a glass window (“Youtube on your window”, 2013), others as performances in which the artist arranged and pushed dishes over the office floor (“Youtube in your office”, 2012) or lit up vanilla candles in the dark (“Loader (Vanilla)”, 2013). Unbeknown to him, videos of the styrofoam sculpture captured by the audience at the Netherlands Media Art Institute were later uploaded to YouTube: “YouTube as a Subject” had come full circle.

The screening includes Dullaart’s original videos, as well as the responses he received by Coonley and other artists over time including Martin Kohout (pasha), Julien Levesque, Ginger Anyhow, Chris Coy, Harm van Den Dorpel, and Adam Cruces.

It is followed by a conversation between Dullaart and Ben Coonley, who will be meeting each other in person for the first time at the event.

Suggested Donation $7

Constant Dullaart‘s (Netherlands, 1979) practice reflects on the broad cultural and social effects of communication and image processing technologies, from distributing artificial social capital on social media to completing a staff-pick Kickstarter campaign for a hardware start-up called Dulltech™. His work includes websites, performances, routers, installations, startups, armies, and manipulated found images, frequently juxtaposing or consolidating technically dichotomized presentation realms. Recent solo exhibitions include “Synthesising the Preferred Inputs”, Future Gallery, Berlin; “Deep Epoch”, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam; “The Possibility of an Army”, Kunsthalle Schirn, Frankfurt; “Jennifer in Paradise”, Futura, Prague; “The Censored Internet”, Aksioma, Ljubljana (2015); “Stringendo”, Vanishing Mediators at Carroll / Fletcher, London; “Jennifer in Paradise”, Future Gallery, Berlin; “Jennifer in Paradise”, Import Projects, Berlin (2013) and “Onomatopoeia”, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2012). Group exhibitions include “Ever Elusive”, Transmediale, Berlin; “Collecting Europe”, Victoria & Albert Museum London (2017); “Information Super Highway”, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); “Then They Form Us”, MCA, Santa Barbara; “When I Give, I Give Myself”, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; “Algorithmic Rubbish”, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2015); “Casting a Wide net,” Postmasters, NYC, USA; “Online/Ofine/Encoding Everyday Life”, Transmediale, Berlin (2014); “Online Mythologies”, Polytechnic Museum, Moscow; “Genius without talent”, de Appel, Amsterdam (2012). Dullaart has curated several exhibitions and lectured at universities and academies throughout Europe, most currently at the Werkplaats Typografe. Recently he has been awarded the Prix Net-Art (2016), and is a current Mondriaan Fund resident at the ISCP in New York.

Ben Coonley is an artist working with video, computers, 3D, and cats. His work has been most recently exhibited in “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Coonley’s work has also appeared in “3D in the 21st Century” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), “Greater New York: Cinema” at MoMA PS1, Performa 09, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, the Moscow Biennale, and the International Film Festival Rotterdam, among many others. Coonley studied Art Semiotics as an undergraduate at Brown University, and received an MFA from Bard College in 2003. He was born in Boston, MA and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

With the underwriting support of the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation

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