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Programme of Events 2021-22

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CRPLA Seminar: James MacDowell (Warwick): 'YouTube Aesthetics and "YouTube Art"’ (on Zoom)

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Today in film, TV and media studies, the first questions scholars ask about any new audiovisual technology or form are unlikely to focus on issues of aesthetics. For instance, among the many questions academics have thus far asked about YouTube, it is unsurprising that few have involved a concept that has become increasingly side-lined in media and cultural studies generally: arthood. Is YouTube facilitating new artistic genres? What expressive properties must, for example, a vlog possess in order to be profitably interpreted and evaluated as an audiovisual artwork? Yet on YouTube itself, such questions are increasingly being contemplated by creators themselves, giving rise to some lively meta-critical debates, addressing the question: “What does 'YouTube art’ look like?” Relating such discussions to art-definitional debates in philosophical aesthetics and film theory, this talk explores what might be involved in approaching (some) YouTube videos not simply aesthetically, but as artworks, and why doing so might matter.

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