Video Vortex XII proceedings:
art, archive, algorithms, activism

Video Vortex XII Editors:
Adnan Hadzi
Andreas Treske
Geert Lovink
Sabrina Calleja Jackson

Published by:
Institute of Network Cultures
OpenMute Publishing


Tech Team
Harris Niavis (MaziZone Programmer)
Andrea Rota (Server Administrator)

University of Malta
Fondazzjoni Kreattivita
Institute of Network Cultures

Cover Design
Raquel Eulate

Assembly On-Demand
OpenMute Press


Supported and Funded by
Ministry for Finance Malta
Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPSSI)
The Mazi project was funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 ICT CAPS initiative under grant agreement no 687983

Thanks to
Vince Briffa (University of Malta)
Toni Sant (Spazju Kreattiv)
Panayotis Antoniadis (MaziZone)
Simon Worthington (OpenMute)

All copyrights are with the respective contributors, artists and researchers.

Video Vortex

Video Vortex is a network of video makers, geeks, activists, artists and researchers that are concerned with the politics and aesthetics of online video. The initiative was established in 2007 by the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam (NL). Video technology has radically altered the way in which we produce, consume and circulate images, influencing the aesthetics and possibilities of moving image cultures, as well as yielding a rich body of scholarship across various disciplines.Institute of Network Cultures

Institute of Network Cultures (INC)

The Institute of Network Cultures (INC) analyzes and shapes the terrain of network cultures through events, publications, and online dialogue. Our projects evolve around digital publishing,alternative revenue models, online video and design, digital counter culture and much more.The INC was founded in 2004 by Geert Lovink, following his appointment within the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. A key focus is the establishment of sustainable research networks.Emerging critical topics are identified and shaped in a practical sense. Interdisciplinary in character, the INC brings together researchers, artists, activists, programmers, designers, and students and teachers.

The field of network cultures revolves around the interaction between new forms of media, and the users of such new forms. With a strong focus on the transdisciplinary nature of new media and its DIY and open source components, the INC gives equal attention to the artistic, political and technical aspects of the internet and other emergent media. As such, the INC’s area of research extends to design, activism, art, philosophy, political theory, and urban studies and is not confined to the internet alone. Indeed, the INC maintains that the internet can only be understood at the conjuncture of these various fields and lines of inquiry. ‘Network cultures’ is seen as a strategic instrument to diagnose political and aesthetic developments in user-driven communication. Network cultures rapidly assemble, and can just as quickly disappear, creating a sense of spontaneity, transience, even uncertainty. Yet these forms are here to stay. However self-evident it is, collaboration is a foundation of network cultures.The aim of the INC is to create sustainable research networks around emerging topics in which a critical contribution can be made. The formation of a small group of international people,both inside and outside of the academy, may result in a larger online discussion. Together with the researchers and a group of students, interns and volunteers, an event is organized to gather key questions and thinkers. Many of these events, such as a conference, seminar or workshop, culminate in a publication. Formats of publication may include a printed reader, a book, video interviews, wikis, blogs and special online magazine issues, along with conference documentation (photos, video files and podcasts). The publication functions as an important vehicle for the sustainability of the research network.

Department of Digital Arts, University of Malta

The Department of Digital Arts bridges contemporary artistic practice and digital technology.Its students are led to develop a refined, critical and unique voice through developing a practice founded on historical and theoretical grounding, contemporary conceptualization and aesthetics, and technical accomplishment in order to help them launch their careers in the Digital Arts.The Department offers courses at Undergraduate and Postgraduate Level:The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Honours in Digital Arts is a practise based degree which integrates practice and theory and covers the interdisciplinary areas of Graphic Design, Photography,Illustration, Animation and Moving Image. This three-year, full time, single honours degree is aimed at students who aspire to become image-making professionals within the Graphic Design and Illustration industries, the Digital Games industry, the Web Development industry,the Animation and Broadcast industries and Photography. The course provides students with a holistic artistic education, based in traditional studio practice combined with art and design history and theory, with the possibility of specialising in the following two main routes in the second and third years: a) Design (Graphic Design, Web and Screen Design, Photography and Illustration) and b) Animation (Animation for web, Television broadcast and Digital Games, and Digital Video Art). Local and foreign artists and academics together with industry practitioners deliver a practice-based Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Digital Arts with routes in digital fine art, lens- based media and visual communications. This award combines digital art practice with art and visual theory and focuses on conceptual articulation within a creative and experimental research environment. The course not only recognizes the potential of emerging technologies to give rise to new processes that pose new creative and conceptual challenges, but also present the same technologies as a cultural construct capable of being altered, enhanced or challenged by artists. The curriculum is grounded in a visual arts tradition and is enriched by opportunities to work in an interdisciplinary fashion with other departments on campus.The Department also offers a Master by Research degree (as full-time or part-time studies)and Ph.D. research in areas of Digital Art and Visual Communications.

Spazju Kreattiv

Spazju Kreattiv is a programme of creative arts and culture events that take place primarily across Malta and Gozo. Established by Fondazzjoni Kreattività in the year 2000, our home is in St James Cavalier, Valletta, a 16th century fort converted into the National Centre for Creativity. We host a range of exhibition spaces, a cinema, a theatre in-the-round, an artist in residence programme, and operate a number of festivals, including ŻiguŻajg and VIVA (Valletta International Visual Arts Festival). The Spazju Kreattiv Programme is led by artistic director Toni Sant and developed by ateam of programme, operations and technical staff. The Programme is composed through a combination of projects and events submitted through an open call and from others specifically created, commissioned or co-produced with us. For more information about collaborating with us, please drop in on one of our regular IKKREA sessions where you can meet one of our programmes coordinators.

Video Vortex Reader III

INC Reader #14 edited by Geert Lovink and Andreas Treske

What is online video today, fifteen years into its exponential growth? What started with amateur work of YouTube prosumers has spread to virtually all communication apps: an explosion in the culture of mobile sound and vision. Now, in the age of the smart phone, video accompanies, informs, moves, and distracts us. Are you addicted yet? Look into that tiny camera, talk, move the phone, show us around — prove to others that you exist!

Founded in 2007, Video Vortex is a lively network of artists, activists, coders, curators, critics, and researchers linked by the exchange of ideas, materials, and discussions both online and offline. Video Vortex has produced two anthologies, a website, a mailing list, 12 international conferences, several art exhibitions, and more to come as the internet and video continue to merge and miniaturize.

The first Video Vortex reader came out in 2008, followed by a second in 2011. This third anthology covers the turbulent period from Video Vortex #7 (2013) in Yogyakarta, across the meetings that followed in Zagreb, Lüneburg, Istanbul, Kochi, and finally Malta in 2019, where the foundations for this publication where laid before its production began in the midst of the corona crisis.

The contributions herein respond to a broad range of emerging and urgent topics, from bias in YouTube’s algorithms, to the use of video in messaging, image theory, the rise of deepfakes, a reconsideration of the history of video art, a reflection on the continuing role and influence of music video, indy servers, synthetic intimacies, love and sadness, artist videos, online video theory in the age of platform capitalism, video as online activism, and the rise of streaming. Click, browse, swipe, like, share, save, and enjoy!

Contributors: Annie Abrahams, Ina Blom, Natalie Bookchin, Pablo deSoto, Ben Grosser, Adnan Hadzi, Judit Kis, Patricia G. Lange, Hang Li, Patrick Lichty, Geert Lovink, Gabriel Menotti, Sabine Niederer, Dan Oki, Aras Ozgun, Daniel Pinheiro, Rahee Punyashloka, Oliver Lenore Schultz, Peter Snowdon, Andreas Treske, Colette Tron, Jack Wilson, Dino Ge Zhang.

Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2020