A recent podcast interview with Adrian, gets me thinking about what he calls “minor video” or “minor cinema.” The value of the miniature in a networked world. The battle for attention, screen space, hits, ratings as modeled on youtube will, Adrian predicts, subside within six years. We are experiencing the growing pains of a new medium. The long tail hurts.
After the novelty of videoblogging, now what? What is networked video anyway? I had argued in the once active vlogtheory listserv that rss video was a good step in that it made watching, creating and conversing a somewhat unified process. But even the impressive Miro is still just a form of TV , because it separates the vlog text from the video and makes commenting on individual posts very difficult (especially when the video is served from a host like blip.tv). All we need is a permalink to the post on the creator’s website. This is the whole point, isn’t it?
I don’t look to net video to be informed, to be entertained, or to pass time. I don’t read blogs or books for entertainment either. Loaded in my rss reader are streams of thought-reports and thought-experiments that I find important to my daily life. The books stacked near my bed are half fiction, half non-fiction. I pick up what I need at the moment. What feeds my thoughts, what gets the blood flowing again. Movies (especiallly with my kids) still fall under entertainment. A kind of shutting down of thought. An immersion in cgi. But art films, like Lynch’s Inland Empire are increasingly like books for me. I dip into them, daydream inside them. I think this is what a minor cinema or literature seeks to do – to lead you to a place you have never been before. A clearing. A place to breath a different kind of air.
Take Sam Renseiw’s spacetwo : patalab. As video alone, there seems to be nothing special. But read what is attached to each post and look at the context of the project and you find a unique, electrifying “voice.” And there are many such voices (look under “Watching” to the right).
What distinguishes video in the deluge of images, is the contextual voice. Yes, the writer’s voice. Sometimes that voice can be brought into the video itself- I’m think of Liss’s pouringdown – and Jay’s Momentshowing where spoken or written text is a layer of the video post. I personally like to keep text and video separate but together: html and quicktime. Might the simplicity and elegance of dynamic html with linked video bring about a rebirth of hypertext fiction? A video blog that takes the writing as seriously as the video is well on the way.
Videoblogging is still show and tell, but it seems like the showing is increasingly being broken from its telling. The showing is what marks the individual moments of our own lives. But it is the telling that connects those moments to the larger ongoing Tale of us all. The Long Tale.