YouTube as archive: who will curate this digital wunderkammer?
At first glance, the ease with which individuals can access and contribute to YouTube sets it in direct opposition to large corporate media outlets with their top-down mode of dissemination. However, in this paper, I argue that despite these seemingly democratic features, YouTube is better understood not as opposed to traditional corporate media but in the same genealogy as previous archival technologies and techniques. In archives, all content is flattened and has equal weight, so it is up to a curatorial authority to present content to audiences. While YouTube promises to democratize media, its lack of a centralized ?curator? actually sets the stage for large media corporations to step into the curatorial role and decide how each object in YouTube?s archives will be presented to users. As these new ?curators? step in, the competition for the time and attention of an audience ? and therefore advertising revenue ? will inevitably lessen as internet media becomes more and more oligarchical. This paper thus draws on political economic and historical critiques of museums, collections, and archives in order to connect the emergent technologies in YouTube with earlier attempts to organize and present information, objects, and images.
Gehl, R. W. (2009). YouTube_as_archive: who will curate this digital wunderkammer?. Journal of Cultural Studies, 12(1), 46-60.