WHAT IS POST-CINEMA?
It has been a while since the first human being decided to stream herself on Internet creating Jennicam. It has been a while since YouTube exists. But it has been only a couple of years since filmmakers started creating “real” films (not just YouTube-poop) of the Internet content. On a first glance there is not a big difference between this new phenomenon of filmmaking and the well known genres in video art and film, such as the ones that appropriate “found footage.”
However there are unique, therefore very new properties of the footage on YouTube that could not exist before technologically and socially. Exactly these features of the video material on YouTube that are substantially different, make this “YouTube/moving-image-social-networking-platform found-footage-filmmaking” uniquely new.
Those features are:
Non-commercial video on these platforms is often a diary that has not been directed by professional directors like in “Reality Show’s reality.” This property of the videos became possible only because the access to video shooting and publishing technology has been recently given to everyone, not only to the professionals. Cheap and user friendly technologies have already infiltrated everyday life (in the countries where these technologies are accessible for the ordinary consumer).
Ordinary vlogers on any of the online platforms such as YouTube, LiveStream, Smotri.com, Chatroulette, VK, VBOX, and all other local/national equivalents can now keep track of their real life at the time it is happening, stream it and archive it in a diary form. Many of them talk about political or social events by which we can track and recreate history. Similarly to many diaries, the online ones can reveal surprising details about the past, which we wouldn’t be having without this wide access to the broadcasted material.
These diaries also reveal the values and the views of the owner of the channel, which helps thremendously sociologists and anthropologysts, who can use them as already finished field work.
And again, these footages are very different to Reality Shows, because in a Reality Show there are preconditions, script writers and directors. Of course vlog makers direct themselves for their audiences – they take roles. But differently to Reality Shows the roles of the vloggers are designed by them, they are the script writers and the producers, therefore the roles they are taking are more authentic, spontaneous and perhaps more real. Reality Shows remain a TV simulatcra of reality.
The authenticity of the vlogger depends on their professionalism. The worse professionals the vloggers are, the most authentic they are. The best professionalists are just actors. For instance some people who stream themselves live, sometimes just put a camera on and behave as if they have forgotten about it. This is a very new phenomenon of authenticity in moving image, which had appeared once recording and streaming tech became widely accessible. On the Smotri.com channel “Protector” we can see a woman who dies on camera perhaps of alchoholism. She is one of the visitors/tennants of the apartment, which the Protector’s camera is showing. Those are people who mostly spend their time drinking and telling stories to each other. Sometimes they fix the camera – or talk to it, which means they are aware of its existence. This woman’s friends realize she is death after a while, the ambulance comes and picks her up – all on camera.