The mass influx of new voices and the various platforms that inform and enable an avalanche of free, readily viewable video have accelerated the genre-making process, creating more than a handful of recognizable forms. This month, the Museum of the Moving Image’s exhibition 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, those extending through the deep recesses of YouTube 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, and our access and capacity to understand enormous volumes of information.
In anticipation of the Museum’s exhibition, we will be publishing throughout the week the below short essays on a few of the video genres made possible by the pervasiveness of affordable cameras and networks, featuring the broad themes of embodiment, manipulation, home, and belief. See you there!
Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Ave, Queens, New York
Video Screening Amphitheater and Gallery
When: April 27–September 2, 2018
Thank you for your consideration. Visit us next week for Real Life’s upcoming installment, SELLING EMPATHY.