Lifestream, Tweets

The article offers a really interesting take on so-called participatory cultures through a look at the work of Kutiman.

In Thru You, Kutiman remixes the work of private citizens, who he credits, and who he includes in his work through visual citation* (i.e. the videos). However, despite their original videos being used (in remixed format), the producers of the original work are passive, or ‘non-participants’. Plaut asks:

why did popular media erroneously represent these people—even if fragments of their images and voices were available from public or corporate sources, essentially private citizens nonetheless—as an orchestra of collaborators?

The article highlights how the emancipatory and participatory narrative around web 2.0 can take on absurdity**. From the Huffington Post:

Kutiman … captured the Zeitgeist of the moment—a time when our rapidly evolving Internet culture is toppling old regimes and handing over control of popular information to people like you, me, Kutiman and his YouTube orchestra… In politics, economics, arts and culture, an era of privileged access is giving way to something that’s much more decentralized, participatory and personal. (Karr, 2009)

It begs the question, what counts as participation?


*While outside the remit of community cultures per se, the visual citation methods used, and Plaut’s analysis of transparency as reified offer an interesting read.

**That is not to say that that I do not appreciate Kutiman’s work – just that it is absurd to call the producers of the work he sampled collaborators.