When YouTube allowed its most loyal users the ability to upload videos that were longer than the previous 15-minute limit, general consensus was that viewers would be able to watch independent films, podcasts, talks and seminars, or live blogs , without having to navigate through a manifold number of successive posts. Of course, the reality didn't quite correspond to the ideal. User TehN1ppe was among the first to create the specifically internet-based phenomenon of the marathon video, a concept that highlights the ludicrous extent to which the web is a powerful user-led multimedia resource. In the first exhibition of its kind, our online museum tank.tv curates a selection of these looped videos this autumn.
Quite simply, TehN1ppe's videos are short animations or films, typically lasting a few seconds, which are looped into a 10-hour post. Representing the most phatic elements of the world wide web itself, these videos are repetitive and irritating. TehN1ppe has uploaded forty-seven such videos to his YouTube channel, with a combined duration of more than four hundred and seventy hours. In total, these videos have been viewed over one hundred and sixty five million times.
Only known by username - it remains a mystery if "it" is a he, she or bot - TehN1ppe is identified with the remix culture that typifies 21st century digital media. These are original works, insofar as they are derivative adaptations of miniscule elements of contemporary culture. "Mortal Kombat theme", "Epic Sax Guy", "Retarded Horse & Batman on Drugs", "Taking the Hobbits to Isengard", "Manwhore song" or, "Guile Theme Goes With Everything - KFC Commercial" - all these are transitory moments within internet meme culture.
By taking these films out of their usual context, tank.tvlook to address questions of creation, copyright and ownership, and what the web has built that allows such unique authorship. TehN1ppe is currently banned from creating any more new videos until a substantial copyright issue is resolved. In true web style, the exhibition takes the mantle of free-to-air distribution and places it in the hands of the artist. It is that unwitting element of contemporary culture that is the future of postmodernism: fragments of pop, expanded until they explode. §
Ten Hour YouTube is showing on tank.tv from September to November.