Canon of YouTube

Yesterday I attended a presentation of the Canon of YouTube in Amsterdam. Twenty-five experts were asked to hand in the top ten videos that they define as true, canonical YouTube videos. In the end, fourty-five of them were selected.

As the initiators of the project (also of the lovely and great Upload Cinema fame) themselves have already said: there is no such thing as a YouTube canon. In fact it’s ironically and intentionally pretentious – the internet will not be canonised damn it! There is just so much out there, that it is of course impossible to compile a ‘definitive’ list. Also, as soon as you make one, it is already outdated, because a four-year old has just been filmed playing a ukulele whilst stroking a cat with his feet, all the while also moving to the rhythm of Single Ladies by BeyoncĂ©. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good YouTube video and was even one of the experts (how did I get that title) that helped compile the programme. I’m just stating facts here!

In any case, the selection of 250 submitted videos was whittled down based on selection criteria that were composed after said submission process. A brilliant idea of course, because therein lies the added value of such a programme. Let people send in what they think are the most canonical videos, don’t limit their ideas. And then, make some great curatorial decisions that are very subjective to make the final cut. Yes, of course the end result is highly debatable. No Susan Boyle (not internet native), no Me at the Zoo, the first YouTube video ever uploaded (too boring). Instead, a nice mix of classics (Chocolate Rain, Sneezing Baby Panda, Numa Numa) and exemplary videos in their genre (people dancing in front of the camera on their own). Because where is the fun in compiling a YouTube canon if you take the whole excercise completely serious.

The list of all fourty-five videos will be released shortly. I will post it as soon as I see it. Meanwhile, enjoy one of the most bizarre selections of the canon that I had never heard of, and that I loved. Maybe NSFW, or NSFL (Not Safe For Life) for some.

If that was too much for you, here is a nice unicorn chaser, also from the canon.

And finally, just to bore your brains out, here is Me at the Zoo.


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