Video Vortex

A conference series established in collaboration with the Institute of Network Cultures to critique online video.

Due to limited research occurring around online video when I started my doctorate, I collaborated with Geert Lovink and the Institute of Network Cultures on setting up a critical forum. The Video Vortex conference series started in 2007 has been ongoing. I was involved in the initial conceptualising and researching of the conference idea. At the Video Vortex 2 conference in Amsterdam, I chaired the ‘Alternative Platforms and Software’ presenters. I learnt from this experience how to form a global network of researchers. In relation to defining a critical practice, I discovered it was important to be in ‘collective knowledge’ communities, as part of meeting the challenges of a rapidly evolving field.

A mute video clip (2008) made for a presentation on the Video Vortex concept that presents social bookmarking tags from research done on the project.

A description from the about webpage on the Video Vortex website:

After years of talk about digital convergence and crossmedia platforms, we are now witnessing the merger of the internet and television at a spectacular pace. From laptops, to mobile phones and urban screens, the speed with which moving images are created and then shared across the web of the internet has taken an almost omnipotent position within our society and shared culture.

For the film and television establishment, its media organisations and conglomerates, fusion with the internet is marked by copyright issues and the shift of audiences away from ‘one-way’ media towards popular video-sharing websites, and are all part of the development of a broader participatory culture. On a cultural level this development also raises critical questions, for what will it mean when parts of our everyday life not only can and will be recorded (with or without our knowledge or permission), but are then instantly distributed on the Internet?

The Video Vortex project aims to contextualize these developments by tracing continuities and fault lines across recent decades in artistic, activist and mainstream activity. Contrary to the way online video is frequently understood and presented as something entirely new, it has long threads woven into the history of visual art, cinema and documentary production. The rise of the database as the dominant form of storing and accessing cultural artefacts also has a rich tradition that needs exploring. As a platform for artists, film and video professionals, and researchers, Video Vortex responds to this emerging field, and offers a crucial space for the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

Since 2007, Video Vortex events, conferences, workshops, and exhibitions have taken place throughout (and outside of) Europe, and includes the publication of the first Video Vortex Reader (2008), and the second one being published March 2011. With this program, the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam, and its project partners, have been initiating and facilitating a deep study of online video in its diverse forms and uses, and further, its impact both on, and within, the information society.