The New Genres: Video in the Internet Age

The New Genres: Video in the Internet Age

April 14–September 2
Video Screening Amphitheater and Gallery

More than two decades into its short history, internet video remains a frontier of experimentation. The staggering number of creators producing and distributing video outside the commercial mainstream—made possible by the pervasiveness of affordable cameras and network connections—has resulted in an avalanche of free, readily viewable video that is only a tap away. Today, more than a million hours of original video are being uploaded, streamed, or shared online every day.

This mass influx of new voices and the various platforms that inform and enable them have accelerated the genre-making process, creating more than a handful of recognizable forms. The New Genres presents a survey of the most significant, influential, and representational of these videos, including the vlog, a direct-to-camera diary in dialogue with the audience; Let’s Play, a narrated video game playthrough; unboxing, the unwrapping of a consumer product or object; and ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), created to produce a tingling sensation on viewers’ skin.

Like all genres, they are sculpted by repetition, each iteration working inside the possibilities of its technology and in dialogue with its audience as a collection of generic conventions take shape. These new genres, which have crystallized over the course of the last two decades, speak to the wide possibility of the micro-audience, the internet’s capacity for rapid feedback, and humankind’s vast diversity of taste. They are less concerned with legacy narrative forms than with urgently responding to our contemporary anxieties: intimacy, identity, agency, our access and capacity to understand enormous volumes of information, and the very nature of truth. 

Organized by Jason Eppink (Curator of Digital Media, Museum of the Moving Image) and Associate Curator Sarah Ullman