YouTube Specificity/History (Le Tigre) (May 21, 2008)
NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
In this 2008 blog post, I interact online with New York Times media critic Virgina Heffernan and new media blogger Chuck Tyron as we all work to name and understand the forms of YouTube by using old ideas and new media projects as our guides.
The band Le Tigre writes: "We wanted to make a new kind of feminist pop music, something for our community to dance to. In our scene, the notion of 'community' had been so problematized by postmodern theory and identity politics gone haywire, that it was easier to retreat to irony or purely oppositional self-definitions. Instead we wanted to be sincere and take risks. For example, it had been a long-standing dream of Kathleen's to write a song like 'Hot Topic,' a celebration of the people who give us strength as feminists and artists and with Le Tigre, that song finally happened."[cit]

There are many competing theories and practices of editing. Soviet montage is organized around the edit as a visible and expressive element, while Hollywood continuity editing attempts to obscure or smooth the cut in favor of coherent story and causality.

Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project engages theories of montage where meaning is produced through intellectual, emotional, or aesthetic linking. "The Arcades Project was an encyclopaedic project on which Walter Benjamin worked for thirteen years from 1927 until his death in 1940. The Arcades Project takes its name from a nineteenth century architectural form. It also borrows its structure from that same architectural form. Arcades were passages through blocks of buildings, lined with shops and other businesses. Montaged iron and glass constructions housed chaotic juxtapositions of shop-signs, window displays of commodities, mannequins and illuminations."[cit]
Videos (YouTube or otherwise) function differently on a TV, in a room, on a screen. This is a type of montage, albeit not within the text itself but between texts and across media.

YouTube artists have a new sort of palette for cutting, either from one YouTube video to another (as I have attempted to experiment with in my Vertov project and also down the side of this texteo), or across the digital field—allowing for comments, descriptions, and advertisements to be part of the complex composited image (as Eisenstein suggests for montage within the frame).

Chuck Tyron's observations seem useful here: "Her [NY Times reviewer Virginia Heffernan] comments here vaguely remind me of Benjamin's approach to the Paris arcades, in which Walter Benjamin sought to make sense of commodity culture through montage, through the connections between things."