Tag Archives: YouTube

Cats Watching Cats Watching Video

Looking back on our last post about this Infinitesimal, Inexpressible Internet we have become so enamoured by, we want to know why some tiny particles within eons of video content breaks through to go viral.

What are the ingredients for viral success?

David Joy shared with us a relevant TED talk from Kevin Allocca, who is YouTube’s trend manager. If anybody knows about what’s hot and what’s not on YouTube – he does.

Many thanks to David for sharing this with us all, it’s a talk as entertaining as it is informative:

Kevin Allocca: Why videos go viral

Kevin Allocca: Why videos go viral (watch in new window)

YouTube especially seems to be doing its job well; meeting a need that people have to share. Going viral is community based; an ‘in joke’ that we can all not only be in on, but also influence.

Animals feature heavily in our physical and virtual worlds.

Silly, unpredictable, unique content seems to be the link across many successful video virals. Who could have anticipated the reaction of the mother to her sneezing baby panda? Nobody. Not even the makers of the video who got in touch with us recently.

Pandas on a Bus | Viral Pandas

Pandas on a Bus

Torchlight Digital Solutions had great success online with this faked image of pandas on a bus. They found their timing was impeccable as the story was breaking about two pandas arriving at Edinburgh Zoo. They say being on trend is a key ingredient to viral success.

Trend is where it’s at, it would seem. So what happens when you are no longer in vogue?

The pandas simply get off the bus?

We’ll leave you to ponder that one for yourselves.

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Infinitesimal, Inexpressible Internet

There was great reason to begin The Sneezing Pandas Project and it goes beyond animals.

Yes, the panda reference is there in black and white, as mega as the fauna itself and charismatic in every regard. Yet these are Viral Pandas. They are not black and white.

They are energies, existing only in the ether.

We are helped here with some of the words by artist Tullio DeSantis whose latest project transcribes the words “infinitesimal” and “inexpressible”, speaking of energy and existence.

This is where our minds meet.

You see, we are all digital enthusiasts.

The screen we stare at. The networks we cross. The images we see; the words; the pages… we absorb a global web of thoughts and ideas and shared experiences. We touch the lives of others and they touch ours. We find wisdom and kindness; hatred and obscurity, in all corners of the ether. Floating through a real, yet unreal force of digital yet tangible surroundings.

We ‘surf’, we ‘skim’, we ‘browse’.

This fascination for Online was a great reason to start the project and we are thrilled to be joined by others who share our passions. Here, DeSantis has produced with Pery Burge a video about the cosmos, but we agree it is just as easily a representation of the Internet.

Mesmerising in entirety we invite you to lose yourself in the colours, the words and the sounds of the ideas shaping in your mind…

Tullio DeSantis is an artist, writer, and teacher with an exceptional history in artistic collaboration and multimedia. We thank him for letting us share this very current and relevant piece of work. Below are some of the phrases we particularly enjoyed and would like to share. Re-play the video and think again:

Within an inexpressible nothingness … through a timeless duration … an instability arises.
Time … space.
Spawning new possibilities.
Time starts and space expands.

Eons elapse.

Infinitesimal aspects of virtual condiments in to momentary states between existence and non existence.
Space … time.

All energies in motion flowing from randomness.
Creative chaos.
Strange attractions.

Information becoming energy, becoming matter.
What is merely virtual becoming very real.
Movement of nothingness.
Unstoppable flow.

Everywhere and all at once.

Constant states of transformation.
Changing instantaneously from formlessness to form and back again.
Before, between, beyond, the ground of all being.

Persistent, perpetual flow.

Experienced by no-one.

And yet it is.
It is.

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Sound Bites

The power of the Internet has been bringing us in touch with some wonderful artists and critical thinkers, hence we’ve been a little quiet this past week, immersing ourselves in what the ether allows us: to enjoy and savour creative works from around the world and to connect with like minds.

Jan Harrison is one such mind; an American artist whose work has been shown in over one hundred exhibitions, throughout the United States, and in Canada, Australia, and Europe. Harrison creates art having to do with the animal nature, using pastel, charcoal, ink, encaustic, and other materials for paintings, sculpture, and installation art. However, the thing that caught our eye was video footage of her performance art in which she speaks and sings in her own language: Animal Tongues.

What of language? And animal language, at that?

What of sound?

We’ve been looking at barriers and connections, especially in our last post: Worlds Apart or Worlds Together, in which we looked at how close the Internet brings us all, yet how far away we actually are. Harrison, for example, has produced a video that I can watch at any time and from the comfort of my own home. I feel like I am watching the performance, but I am not watching in real time.

The interesting thing about this is, some people played it and their animals heard it. They not only heard it, but they responded too.

Try it and let us know how you get on.

Artist Jimmy Guthrie decorated the back of the eyes of a sculpted fox’s head for this, The Sneezing Pandas Project, which we made in to a short video. Here, we see Harrison create an animal head out of porcelain and beeswax. This is the medium she chooses to speak through in her Animal Tongues.

How do you find it?

It certainly seemed popular amongst other species.

We came across another video this week of a very different kind.

This is a YouTube video that has inspired a fan club for Pancake the cat. Sweetfurx4, who uploaded the footage, describes it as a “meowsic video” for other cats, and like Harrison’s work the sound seems to have genuinely spoken to some of them:

LOL, my cat went from sound asleep to wide awake and full alert when this video started.
– alyxacp

Technology has not only allowed us to see and share animal imagery and video around the world, but animals themselves can be touched by this. Where we can’t communicate with other species, perhaps art finds another way. Perhaps art finds a deeper connection in our own animal selves, as Harrison talks about in her Artist Statement.

Rather than passers by of novelty communications, perhaps sound and technology truly communicates one species with another.

Perhaps we are one of those species.

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Worlds Apart or Worlds Together?

We’ve had a submission from ‘Lateral Zoo’ (thank you!), bringing this video to our attention: “Lion tries to eat baby PART 1.”

Doesn’t sound nice?

Well, they are at a zoo and there is glass between the baby and the lion, but it is this glass that seems to be a bone of contention amongst video viewers – will it or won’t it break? Is its presence more alarming or less alarming to our heart rate?

Embedding has been disabled, but you can watch the video on YouTube.

We watched another video featured alongside this one: “Lioness tries to eat baby at the zoo.” which seems to follow a trend in ‘eat baby’ video titles. As we saw before with the I Hate Balls campaign, comments on more controversial videos can be brazen and often go off-topic:

I was hoping it eat the little bastard !
– victoryou81

F-ing jerks for teasing the Lion……I wish it did eat that baby.
– musakil1

Your grammar and the incessant use of ellipses is worse than your lack of humor. Please kill yourself and avoid having progeny who might turn out to be more stupid than you are.
Signed ~ Jesus
– johnlovestohate

Invisible barriers

There is much distance seen here: the glass between the lion and the baby, the digital barrier between the baby’s experience and the short scene caught on camera, then the geographical distance between the video viewers and their faceless comments, how close are we *actually* to one another?

In these instances do we slip in to an Uncanny Valley, much like the human-like robots we explored before for Viral Pandas?

How close is close if in reality we are worlds apart?

Are we right to have concerns about an alarming separate yet deceptively close connection?

There’s no doubt that the Internet brings many positives to our lives on every level and streams for digital media are improving, changing and enhancing our experience all the time, but will we ever merge our online and offline experiences, not just with Web 3.0 integration, but physically?

We came across another video this week, which represents well the areas we have been interested in. We recently looked at Human and Animal Ink – that is, tattoos and skin. We considered perfection and body modification, also responsibility and transference.

Here’s a video of a man who inserted magnets in to his arm to hold his iPod Nano.

The video does contain some mildly graphic scenes and blood, but it has been edited with taste and not sensationalism.

Food for thought.

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I Hate Thigh Knockers

HumaneSpot.org circulated an article last week called Should You Share This Video?, written by Caryn Ginsberg. It questions whether humour is an effective transmitter for more serious animal causes like neutering and focuses on a viral video campaign featuring actress Katherine Heigl.

The question posed by Ginsberg is timely for our project and its conclusion is that this kind of video, which we’ll show you in a minute if you haven’t yet seen it, is not effective:

“Save the Katherine Heigl video for the folks that you know will enjoy the laugh … and have already had their animals spayed or neutered.”

Caryn Ginsberg, 2012

I Hate Balls video clip

The I Hate Balls video went viral and sparked off many debates in the Funny or Die and YouTube comments. We’re not so interested here in what they’re saying, more in what they’re not saying and also how they say it. Comments are vicious and rarely about neutering.

Are these thoughts from behind the computer screen a valid reflection of real life?

Are these the same words that would be spoken offline?

How does this discharge of candid emotion affect the animal subjects?

We see from viewing figures that humour is an effective tool to encourage sharing, but like the WWF Sneezing Baby Panda video the I Hate Balls campaign doesn’t seem to have spread a serious message. We’ve seen little evidence from the video viewers that they’re talking about neutering and most are more concerned with other arguments around feminism and ball bashing.

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Still Creepy

The wolf image we blogged about in Look and Listen reminded Katherine, as a sculptor, of Point Cloud. This is a technical process using a laser to pinpoint areas on a subject that can then be used to create a 3D model of it. Like the wolf, it traps the subject within the laser image, which can then become a clay model or something else physical. In a way, the distance that sits between these two forms of the same object or being, separating them, creates an area of non-existence.

Two interesting findings have come out of ideas around Point Cloud and trappings:

1. King Kong

The third King Kong film used CGI to recreate the famous gorilla and extra scenes on the DVD revealed how this is done using a real person as the basis for his actions. Here’s a clip of some facial expressions showing the actor and the projected image of King Kong. In the same way we all represent a version of ourselves online, characters are created to digitally portray a version of a truth.

These characters are released in to the digital wild to live their own lives.

2. Changing faces

Thanks to a Viral Pandas submission we’ve been looking at the Uncanny Valley and found it very relevant to the Sneezing Pandas Project. It involves us being able to detect when something that looks very real is actually not real, but robotic. We also feel it applies well to a cyborg persona – that is, who we project ourselves to be online, what we share and the comments we write.

Are we empty beings in the cyborg world and merely a reflection of a human form?

Do we project this on to the animals we watch?

We found this video, which demonstrates how close we are getting to changing faces with technology. Regardless of how good or bad this effect is…

It’s still creepy.

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Howl: Look and Listen

We recently saw a wolf drawing that is really intriguing. It was posted on Pinterest by Visual Graphic, but drawn by Paul Wischnewskl and posted to his Behance profile. It’s interesting in relation to Viral Pandas in two ways: first, because of the way the image has spread around the Internet, and secondly because we’ve been formulating ideas around animals in the ether – a place where they are almost frozen; framed within a digital window.

Here, it appears that the wolf is trapped in this drawing with pen points pulling at every muscle – pulling at every corner of skin around the jaw and behind the ears.

The wolf will always appear this way and time will change nothing.

Is this wolf unable to howl?

It’s a beautiful image, full of tension, which of course is something we focused on in our influences for The Sneezing Pandas Project.

'Wolf. Size A3.' by Paul Wischnewski

‘Wolf. Size A3.’ by Paul Wischnewski

This image is perfectly matched with The Wolf, a favourite song of Natalie‘s by Eddie Vedder. It needs no words. The song emanates tension and intensity; trappings. It comes from the film, Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn, which covers this very subject. We highly recommend it.

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Digging in the Dirt

Thanks Nicola for sending in the Digging in the Dirt video from Peter Gabriel in response to the Mark Twain blog – the video fits the subject matter perfectly and we’re pleased to have a musical contribution.

Enjoy!

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Cyborg Conversations in Uncanny Valley

Contributor, David Joy, has shared some videos with us about Uncanny Valley, which we find fascinating. The term was coined by Masahiro Mori, a robotics professor who designed and built a robot to look and behave exactly like himself. The robot is, for want of a better word, freaky.

The uncomfortable sensation that hits us when watching the robot, which looks just like a human, moves like a human, sounds like a human, but we know definitely isn’t a human, puts us in the Uncanny Valley. It’s the gap between successfully attributing something that isn’t human with familiar human features that people find endearing and the total inability to tell the difference between a robot and a human. It’s the ability to tell that something so close to being human is not human, which jars the mind.

The following video was a particularly interesting depiction of Uncanny Valley and relates well to our project. The video, although it is not about a real human being, is really quite sad.

Perhaps it reflects our view of watching animals online?

Don’t think, and we don’t want you to feel.

Perhaps watching animals digitally online distances us so far from the real animal being that we needn’t be concerned for its welfare, we simply want it to entertain us. Does all sense of reality slip under the radar in our digital, cyborg conversation?

More about Mori and Uncanny Valley at WIRED.

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Breaking the Herd

We’ve received our first submissions from David Joy. Thanks David for diving in and getting us started! He references a video that was also on our list of ‘greatest viral videos ever’ … and I need say only one word:

Fenton.

This video of a dog chasing deer in Richmond Park went viral at the end of last year, but perhaps the male owner of the dog was the real star of the show.

We’re accustomed to a high level of control and social order, especially in public spaces like Richmond Park, and rules are written for animals too. To see such a blatant shunning of these regulations by a dog, who is of course oblivious to any notion of public order is perhaps alarming at first, but unexpected and thrilling viewing. However, it is the strong reaction from the dog’s owner who recognises and is panicked by this break away from order that most entertains us. He knows what lies ahead; he sees the cars, he visualises the fallout – he surely feels responsibility for the potential disaster that looms ahead. A comment on the video from one viewer suggested that dogs can be shot here if they aren’t under this expected control and whether or not this is correct, just the idea of it is enough to send the owner in to a frenzy. So habitual is our understanding of this sense of order that any move away from it escalates a sense of chaos.

The dog is meanwhile carefree and tearing across the field.

Do we all enjoy a break from social control?

Do we all want to be Fenton?

'Dogs must be kept on a lead' by Natalie Gilbert

‘Dogs must be kept on a lead’ by Natalie Gilbert

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