Thursday, August 25, 2011

YouTube is MeTube


In the Internet age, when the line between "happenings" and publicity stunts has blurred, can performance art still resonate with the public?

James Wescott tries to answer the question posed by "Room for Debate" @ the New York Times:  
Whereas the performance itself opened up vertiginous depths of empathy, the online experience was addictive and alienating. Through the alchemy of the Internet, the performance loses some of its luster. From gazing to gawking, total immersion to idle browsing, the level of engagement is no longer the same. But at least more people could engage with it than the few who are part of the art world. Watching performance art online seems to license the kind of cruelty that live performance in the '70s sought to confront through brutal enactment of vulnerability and pain.
How could YouTube kill performance art? A Brobdingnagian percentage of YouTube users have the foggiest idea of what performance art is. On the other hand, why not seeing YouTube as a pre-MeTube whereby empathy becomes inpathy, yet another step towards informance, the ipseity of selfism?