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NOT a cool Japanese swimming pool (via WeLoveViral)

Online we encounter more information than ever, but we also lose a hell of a lot.

On May 3, the blog WeLoveViral posted a photos and a video titled “Swimming Pool Illusion.” The YouTube video embedded in the post is titled “Amazing Japanese Fake Pool” and has been viewed (as of today) 6,211,210 times!

The problem is that the pool is question is neither a pool, nor Japanese. In fact, it is an artwork by Argentinean artist Leandro Erlich titled “Swimming Pool” (2008), which New Yorkers will remember for its very long run at PS1.

Fortunately for the blog, they corrected their original error, but when I surfed YouTube to look for videos of Leandro Erlich’s trippy work, which were correctly labeled, I only found one by Vernissage TV with only 7,590 views.

Part of the problem is that, if memory serves me right, visitors will not allowed to photograph or video Erlich’s work. What is more interesting to me is that with the right tagline and packaging Erlich’s pool was able to muster over six million views since July 2007! Which is no small feat.

Part of me wonders if the person who shot the video purposefully didn’t label the work properly so they wouldn’t be subject to a take down notice.

Can someone please fix our shitty copyright laws now?

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

6 replies on “Why You Should Always Caption Your Photos & Videos Properly”

  1. This is really interesting. I used to work for Kent Gallery where Leandro used to show and I’ve helped move and install his work. He’s a great guy and I’m glad to see this work getting a larger audience. It’s a real crowd-pleaser of a piece and a lot of his work deals with this kind of perceptual play. 6 Million views is huge considering that even the most popular video art pieces on YT have well under 1 million (I’m pointing to Tom Rubnitz’s Pickle Surprise here). This really does show you that the right labeling (or wrong labeling) can help catapult an artwork into public view. At the very least they’re seeing a document of the original work. Usually you see an artist getting “referenced” in a commercial clip or ad and that’s just some art director freely “borrowing” ideas (the Honda commercial that copied Fischli and Weiss’s The Way Things Go or the floating plastic bag scene from American Beauty that is clearly taken from Jem Cohen’s Lost Book Found).

    It does take posts like this though to connect the artist with his work but I guess that’s just how it goes with the internet.

    1. It seems to suggest that there is a bigger audience for some art than artists realize but many are too busy concentrating on galleries and traditional modes of distribution to explore new and exciting possibilities.

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