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VHS: 24-Hour Rabbit Hole
24 hours of YouTube recommendations
VHS is a 24-hour video art rabbit hole.
Start with YouTube’s first video
Pick a new video based on YouTube’s recommendations every few seconds
Record the next 24 hours onto VHS
20 years ago, television and video were distinct. What we watched on television was communal, while video was a private medium.
Today, watching television means watching videos, each of us tuning in for different ones at different times for different reasons. The videos are public but what we watch (and when and why) is private.
“VHS — 24 Hours of YouTube” records the act of watching television in 2021, making visible an isolated, hyper-personalized experience so that it may be seen collectively again.
The piece is made to be watched live as a 24-hour continuous installation. If you’d like to exhibit the piece (or know someone who might), please get in touch.
I screen-recorded YouTube using a regular browser.
The recording starts on YouTube’s first video.
A browser extension that I wrote would pick a recommendation from YouTube’s sidebar every 5 seconds and jump to a random timecode within the first third of that video.
This process went on for 24 hours, making its way down a linear thread of more than 15,000 recommended videos.
I split the final recording into 12 pieces of 2 hours and recorded each piece onto a VHS tape.
For posterity’s sake, I re-digitized the VHS tapes and also recorded each one playing back on a CRT TV.
An 8-hour excerpt is available on YouTube, showing 4 of the 12 tapes:
“The content of any medium is always another medium.”