Time-Based Art Festival 2013

TBA: Getting To Know You(Tube) at the Works

Day 5: A team of “experts” led us deep into the culture of YouTube—a journey both hilarious and profound (but mostly hilarious).

By Ally Bordas September 17, 2013

Getting To Know You(Tube) is brazen and cutting-edge. Young and fresh-faced founders Crystal Baxley and Stefan Ransom embraced the obscure YouTube community some have come to admire and some to disdain, but we’re all united in our ability to laugh at it.

When GTKYT’s performance began the Works was steaming with contagious laughter and color and was jam-packed for a Monday (it was standing room only for latecomers), making it feel more than a dreary warehouse.

Four presenters were allotted fifteen minutes to play videos followed by a Q&A session. No rules. No censorship.

First up: Andrew Ritchie, a film scholar based in Portland. His topic: the cover song—in this case “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. Everyone from earnest boys with guitars to ‘tween girls dueting for their computer cam. But he didn’t stop at covers, he broke the phenomenon into covers of covers of “Dynamite,” and then covers that push the song into new terrain. Almost uniformly hilarious, these fragments expressed the ever-tantalizing America Dream, resonating with idealistic folks yearning for discovery (while also offering fascinating glimpses into others lives as expressed in their bedroom).

Funny man Dalas Verdugo was next.  He was with Vimeo from its humble beginnings. Verdugos’ fascination derives from finding rare gems. His act focused on the exceptional (or half-witted?) things we create in our spare time.  

Clips garnering the most laughs:

Christoga, Christian filled yoga. Stretch and worship simultaneously:
Chewbacca dancing to Axel Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” (need I say more?):
Street Poem, a boy in a city composing hilarious haiku-esque poems:
Severed Arms.  Words cannot explain this oddity:
‘Whhhoooaaaaa how did they do that!!!!!’:

Jennifer Reyes is an assistant professor at Portland State University. The third performer, Reyes’ clips brought forth an earnest, sentimental side so often overlooked on YouTube. She previewed educational and thought provoking speeches, leaving us feeling uplifted. 

Last was Jamie Edwards, Portland native, whose sketch was the cleverest. She focused on the comment section of YouTube, stating “yes, the comment section is full of homophobic, racist and sexist thoughts. I won’t censor them to be fair.” The comments were pulled from extra terrestrial videos. Edwards and her partner acted out a profanity filled comedy routine while an alien dissection played on loop.

Some of the funniest (and censored) comments:

“The illuminati are running the world, not the aliens!”
“The only thing people should be afraid of is the LORD.”
“Do NOT underestimate the females!”
“The truth is the ocean.”
“The human experience is a biological trick!”
“Nooo, we should really be afraid of the Free Masons!”
“I have seen more UFO’s in the sky than people have seen airplanes.”
“Obviously it’s real, it’s on YouTube!”

After Edwards was showered in endless applause, Baxley and Ransom fervently jumped on stage, quickly launching into a spontaneous GTKYT dance party.  We all felt the extension of their adrenaline, and digital or in person, we were all one community.  

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