top of page

Youtube: The medium is the medium

March 2014

The Courtauld Institute of Art, London



YouTube/the medium is the medium is an exhibition that explores the life of videos within YouTube; the terms of use, comments, suggested videos, and ads—as well as the history of analog and digital image-making—that informs our viewing of these productions. 


Looking particularly at single-channel video from the 1960s through today as hosted on the website, the exhibition raises questions concerning the frameworks YouTube builds around our spectatorship. What is art on YouTube? outside of its contexts? outsides of its exhibition parameters? outside of the artist's say? As the first free and accessible means to distribute video available to the public, YouTube has made the role of the product (and that of the artist) into something open-ended. 


The exhibition is structured as a YouTube playlist that weaves between historic and contemporary examples of video art. Accompanying this playlist is a collaborative, user-generated playlist where visitors can contribute any video to dialogue with those of the curated list. Together, these groupings and comparisons speak to the vernaculars of YouTube and video; the curious parallels that emerge in the treatment of the website as medium; and the collapsed boundary between high and low, formal and informal, that its infrastructure facilitates. The frame of YouTube is important to understand these conditions, and as such, primary viewing of these playlists is encouraged to take place directly on the website.

Campus still 1.JPG
Darling still 1.JPG
bottom of page