Guggenheim Museum YouTubePlay: Shortlist Announced

The Guggenheim and YouTube, in collaboration with HP and Intel, announced the shortlist for YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video this week. Selected from more than 23,000 submissions from 91 countries, the 125 shortlisted videos can now be seen on the YouTube Play channel at and also at creative kiosks in the Guggenheim museums of New York City, Berlin, Bilbao, and Venice. The selected videos can be sorted by animation, documentary, experimental, music videos, narrative, and non-narrative.

Guggenheim YouTube kiosk
Open to the global online community, the competition was announced this past June and accepted submissions through July 31st. The 125 shortlisted videos were chosen by the Guggenheim curatorial team and have been presented to the YouTube Play jury for consideration. The jury of eleven includes: musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson; musical artists Animal Collective; visual artists Douglas Gordon, Ryan McGinley, Marilyn Minter, and Takashi Murakami; artists and filmmakers Darren Aronofsky, Shirin Neshat, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul; and graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, with the Guggenheim’s Nancy Spector serving as jury chairperson.

Of the shortlist, Spector says that it “presents a rich sampling of the best creative video found on YouTube and is representative of the various stylistic and conceptual genres specific to this broad, ever-expanding platform. The selection is diverse in technique, subject matter, geography, and professional status, which reflects the increasing accessibility of new media technologies around the world. We believe the shortlist reveals the abundance of creative energy this project evoked.”

Takashi Murakami, who has recently opened the controversial exhibition at Versailles that I have already blogged about explains, “In both the global art world and beyond, the speed at which information technology is developing is accelerating at an astounding rate. These innovations have brought with them drastic changes in both the form and dissemination of artistic expression. In the past several years, not a day passes without me watching something on YouTube. YouTube is a medium to communicate with the world at large and we artists can no longer call ourselves artists merely by discovering something special and presenting it to the public alone. In that way, YouTube has incited a revolution.”

The jury will now select up to 20 of their top choices to be revealed and presented at a special YouTube Play event at the Guggenheim Museum on October 21. The final videos selected by the jury will be on view to the public from October 22 through 24 in the Tower 2 gallery of the museum, and available to a worldwide audience on the YouTube Play channel at

Six Canadians (two Vancouverites!) have been chosen for the shortlist, including:
  • Jerry Levitan's Oscar-nominated I Met the Walrus, an animated film based on a 1969 interview with John Lennon, has been selected by the Guggenheim Museum in its YouTubePlay art project.
  • Jason Ryan of Toronto with Acornucopia, an animated film about a generous squirrel and a space-age robotic blue jay.
  • Jeff Kopas of Toronto with Dogasaur, in which a four-year-old girl tries to help her blind grandfather by reintroducing him to the world of imagination.
  • Nicole Duquette of Vancouver with Dreamscape, an anime-inspired video about a girl's watery dream.
  • Andrew Nicolas McCann Smith of Toronto and New York with Home, a live drama set an old folks home.
  • Sterling Pache of Vancouver with Mars to Jupiter, a short film about the struggles of a Rwandan genocide survivor as she integrates into North American society.
In honour of Peace Day, I have chosen to feature Levitan’s I Met the Walrus for your viewing pleasure. This work also won the 2009 Emmy for "New Approaches" making it, as the YouTubePlay site remarks "the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the Internet"