Riverofthe.net: Ryan Trecartin x Tumblr’s David Karp
Heavyweight world champion video artist Ryan Trecartin has teamed up with the brilliantly innovative founder of Tumblr, David Karp, to invent an extraordinary new way of using language and cognition through online video. The fruit of their collaboration has just been unleashed on the Internet today, and it’s called Riverofthe.net.
The site combines the random nature of systems like Chatroulette and Stumbleupon with the creative conventions of YouTube and Vimeo, allowing anyone to anonymously upload a video clip up to 10 seconds in length, describe it in three tags, and then “throw it into the river for public viewing.” The interface-free front page of Riverofthe.net simply starts with a random video clip and then follows it with every other clip that shares that tag (displayed in the lower left corner). The only way to control what you’re seeing is to choose a new tag or add more content to the River. Essentially, the whole project is an endless film that is constantly evolving, never played in the same sequential order, and authored by everyone.
It sounds complicated, but actually it’s quite intuitive. I’m honestly flabbergasted at the plethora of possibilities this platform presents– but the best part is, it’s SO FUN! I hope everyone I know starts contributing to the River, shaping it into a massively layered and altogether unimaginable art piece. Art Fag City has a great interview with Ryan Trecartin where he explains the concepts behind the site in more detail. I’m posting a long-ish excerpt after the jump and strongly recommending that you go baptize yourself in the River.
Ryan Trecartin: [...] I’m excited to see how people manipulate the tool’s potential, for example one could make a fictional character, idea, or phrase as a tag. As people stumble apond that tag they will see the shape of that character’s collective narrative and can alter it by contributing. This happens on YouTube all the time, but the chatter happens as a list out side the original, with the river, the orignal will never be noted or prioratized, and there will be no opportunities to flag a video, or conceptually own the identity of it, and so the collective shape of that particular stream will be 100% open. A tag could potentially become virally particpated in, but a particular video couldn’t become viral as an autonomous item unless it’s being hosted somewhere else, since it wouldn’t ever be able to be accessed directly at will from the river. Also the site wont have any way to favorite or house content in any sort of user based screen name way, and so the tool must be brought to other sites such as tumblr if one wants to lubricate there connection to a tag. Also I hope to see people use it as a research tool, for artists and writers and such; when you’re working on an idea and you start Googling it, this is another place where you can sit back and watch the flow of that topic, if that topic has a tag.