20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2009

On November 20-21 2009, Cimatics festival is hosting the 5th Video Vortex conference. Two years after its first edition, Video Vortex returns to Brussels, this time taking place in one of the great icons of mid 20th century modern architecture: the Atomium. The past two years, the conference series – which focuses on the status and potential of the moving image on the Internet – has visited Amsterdam, Ankara and Split, growing out into an organised network of organisations and individuals. Time for an interim report, perhaps. We asked some participants of the first Video Vortex editions and publication, as well as new ones, to reflect on recent developments in online video culture.

Over the past years the place of the moving image on the Internet has become increasingly prominent. With a wide range of technologies and web applications within anyone’s reach, the potential of video as a personal means of expression
has reached a totally new dimension. How is this potential being used? How do artists and other political and social actors react to the popularity of YouTube and other‘user-generated-content’ websites? What does YouTube tell us about the state of contemporary visual culture? And how can the participation culture of video-sharing and vlogging reach some degree of autonomy and diversity, escaping the laws of the mass media and the strong grip of media conglomerates?

DAY I: Friday 20 Nov

13h30 Introduction by Geert Lovink

14h00 System flaws and tactics

Video channels, platforms and formats impose strict structures on how you can interact with them. This session is inspired by the inherent errors, disabilities and restrictions, often conducting our behaviour but in this case inspiring and exposing new insights.

– Liesbeth Huybrechts/Rudi Knoops (BE)
‘Play that video, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ Both Huybrechts and Knoops teach at the Media & Design Academy in Genk.

– Johan Grimonprez (BE)
‘It’s a poor story if it only works backward.’ Grimonprez is an international renowned artist best known for his seminal DIAL H-I-S-T-O-R-Y.

– Rosa Menkman (NL)
‘From Artifacts to filter. The Tipping point of failure.’ Menkman is an artist and is currently doing a PhD at the KHM on the subject of Artifacts.

– Brian Willems (CR)
‘Blindness: the inability of YouTube to read itself’. Brian Willems teaches literature and media culture at the University of Split.

17h30 Q&A

20h30 Video Vortex at night
On Friday night everyone is invited in the centre of Brussels at Les Brigittines for an evening programme with:

– Filmscreening programme by Stoffel Debuysere and María Palacios Cruz

– Artist presentations by Constant Dullaart and Albert Figurt

– Audiovisual performance by Kurt D’haeseleer & Tuk

DAY II: Saturday 21 Nov

10h00 Online cinema
What will happen to web cinema as we shift from learning to see and how to feel to learning how to participate in this new electronic space of modernity?

– Andrew Clay (GB)
‘Web cinema: Mind the Gap!’ Andrew Clay is lecturing in Critical Technical Practices at De Montfort University, Leicester and programme leader of BSc (Hons) Media Technology in the Faculty of Computing Sciences and Engineering.

10h45 Categories of enactment / Strategies of resistance
The two speakers have been contributing to the previous Video Vortex Reader. They are both artists and theoreticians and share a common attitude of resistance. In this session they will update and further expand their contributions to Video Vortex.

– Keith Sanborn (US)
‘Beyond’. Sanborn is media artist and theoretician focusing on the investigation of public images and private perceptions with great interest in “user-generated-content” and web footage in general.

– Stefaan Decostere (BE)
‘Impact, complicity, fascination’. Decostere is a Belgian artist and has been producing documentaries for tv since ‘79. In ‘99 he founded CARGO, a foundation for creation and development with media.

12h00 Lunchbreak

13h30 Artist practices: (sub)versioning
(Sub)versioning – the contraction of the Situationist ’subversion’ and the common IT practice of ’versioning’ – might best describe the practice of the artists in this session. They approach online video as a means for subtle restructuring of existing popular media and as a basis for investigating new modes of constructing and relating meaning brought about by the Internet.

– Oliver Laric (TR) & Aleksandra Domanovic (RS)
Berlin based artists Laric and Domanovic two of the co- founders of the platform VVORK. Their work has been the subject of numerous presentations at previous Video Vortex conferences.

– Constant Dullaart (NL)
Dullaart is an artist and teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld academy, and curates several events in Amsterdam such as the Lost and Found evenings.

15h00 Politics of online video
In a dispersed society with a seemingly vanishing mass culture, online video is challenging traditional channels of public communication, oppositional media. A session providing us with some remarkable case-studies and research-projects about
participatory communication, the White House and citizen journalism.

– Simon Yuill (GB)
’Citizen Journalism vs Oppositional Media’. Simon Yuill is an artist based in Glasgow, was involved in hacklabs and Free Media Labs and has written on aspects of Free Software and cultural praxis.

– Elizabeth Losh (US)
’The White House’s use of YouTube and the reactions of privacy advocates’. Losh is Writing Director of the Humanities Core Course at the University of California and recently published ’Virtualpolitik’.

– Stephen Crocker (CA)
’Filmmaking and the politics of remoteness’. Crocker is associate professor of sociology and assistent director of the Humanities Program at Memorial University, Newfoundland. He writes about media, social theory, philosophy and the sociology of the image.

17h00 Closing Q&A

20h00 Opening Cimatics festival
Performances by AGF (DE), TVestroy (CA), Boris & Brecht Debackere (BE) + party