YouTube gets a curator

How is it possible to “curate” Youtube? Among millions of choices, of an endless stream of hours of new footage everyday, how can we develop curatorial slants and selection filters in this flow? Youtube has decided to ask personalities to give their 5 best youtube clips, and Pedro Almodóvar gives his selection below. But does his selection say something about Youtube culture?

He chooses a Godard clip and a couple of songs that are meaningful to his oeuvre and meaningful as general cinema and music culture of a particular generation, but how are they meaningful to Youtube culture? There is a difference between selecting clips of bits of films and songs from the past and choosing clips that actually position Youtube and networking culture uniquely in the history of media, and why not, of cinema. I get the feeling that this selection could have been done in any other context, in the context of a television show or a video store, for the Godard and Brel clips can actually be found in other sources of media. The Internet here is functioning merely as an archive.

As far as network cultures go, Almodóvar’s selection is curious, but hardly revealing of the Internet itself, and of interest to those who know his own films and aesthetics. Of course, the way Almodóvar articulates his choices is interesting to see and watch. Apart from reblogs, retweets and facebook postings, one may get lost in the quagmire of youtubings, where users spend, as Lev Manovich once wrote, more time getting lost and trying to make decisions on what to click on the Internet than actually enjoying content.

But his last choice is interesting and relevant in a more reflexive way of understanding Youtube and its structure. The short film “Vecinas Valencianas” has been reenacted countless times on Youtube and thus stands out as a feature of web 2.0. You know when an idea is powerful when you have hundreds of people dedicating energy to filming reenactments of it and posting them online. It means that this film stuck to networking culture.

In celebration of Youtube’s 5 year old existence.

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