As part of its California Video exhibition, The Getty launched a website called Video Revolutionaries. This website invited the public to upload their own video art inspired by the works of the artists in California Video collection. In spite of this request for work influenced by many of the outrageous and transgressive artists in the show, the website also lists criteria that the public’s videos must abide by. A list of rules and regulations imposes traditional censorship upon the applicants. The site then also gives the public rules on how they can interact with the videos on the website.
The “Video Revolutionaries” website states that all video posts will be reviewed by the Getty and deemed acceptable before being posted to the Video Revolutionaries website. It further explicitly forbids sexually explicit material, certain kinds of violence, and the use of any sort of automated voting methods. So much for artistic freedom.
Now, there’s nothing like a little bit of censorship to provoke the online anarchists. Hence a collective known as The Infinity Lab took it upon themselves to produce a number of very silly videos for the site which they then pumped to the top of the ‘most viewed’ list. They pretty much own this section of the site now. Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters would be proud. Small act of subversion? Yes. But also a reminder (as if one were needed) that the Internet remains an anarchic space. And one which brands and institutions should still engage with carefully.
Getty’s site rather archaically doesn’t allow their video to be easily embedded elsewhere, so you’ll need to click here to view the currently-top-rated content.