Opinion

A Clickhole into Conceptual Video Art

(gif by Hrag Vartanian)
(GIF by Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

Clickhole, the Onion‘s clickbait-parodying spin-off, is producing some of the best video art on the internet. The site’s administrators seem to have integrated the tricks and aesthetics of conceptual and video art, from matter-of-fact performance videos like Bruce Nauman’s “Walking in a Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square” (1967–68) to the deadpan humor of John Baldessari’s “I Am Making Art” (1971) and “Baldessari Sings LeWitt” (1972). Witness, for instance, Clickhole’s “You Can Write Whatever You Want On A Baby … And Here’s The Proof.”

The site’s video artists have also incorporated the tactics of more mainstream fodder. For instance, I found it impossible to watch “Get The Tissues Ready: Watch These People React To The First 10 Minutes Of ‘Up!’” without being reminded of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s viral stream-of-consciousness live commentary on Conan the Barbarian. The futility of responding to a film by simply describing what is happening on screen is a bottomless well of comedy — Schwarzenegger inadvertently stumbled into it, and now Clickhole has tapped it.

Recently, Clickhole ventured into self-reflexive territory pioneered by Douglas Gordon in his installation “24 Hour Psycho” with the maddeningly jumpy “Sorry, We Slowed Down This Video Of A Hummingbird Too Much.” There are even nods to Andy Warhol’s appropriations of advertising and mass-produced packaging in Clickhole videos like “Don’t Believe The Hype: This Can Has No Peas In It” and “Yes! Ham Goes Up An Escalator.”

So take note, curators: If Clickhole isn’t included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial or 2018 New Museum Triennial, I will write a scathing takedown — on a baby.

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