Above: what happens when you upload a video to YouTube, then rip it from YouTube, and repeat that process again, a thousand times. The final digitally-distilled product bears little resemblance to the original, and becomes something of its own. YouTube user "canzona," whose personal website is here, explains:
I started this project exactly 1 year ago, almost to the hour. The final version is a lot different than I thought it would be, I was expecting a lot more digital video noise, and a lot less digital audio noise. Let this be a lesson, though, always be careful how you convert your digital media!
An homage to the great Alvin Lucier, this piece explores the 'photocopy effect', where upon repeated copies the object begin to accumulate the idiosyncrasies of the medium doing the copying. Full words: I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice as well as the image of myself, and I am going to upload it to YouTube, rip it from YouTube, and upload it again and again, until the original characteristics of both my voice and my image are destroyed. What you will see and hear, then, are the artifacts inherent in the video codec of both YouTube and the mp4 format I convert it to on my computer. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a digital fact, but more as a way to eliminate all human qualities my speech and image might have.
The title of this YouTube experiment and its structure are a sort of playful riff on Lucier's most famous work, "I am Sitting in a Room." I believe this site offers a downloadable recording of Lucier's original performance of that work.
I Am Sitting In A Video Room 1000 (thanks, Mia Quagliarello!)
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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