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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Vinepeek streams newest videos

Published: January 24, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

People make Vines for different reasons. Maybe they’re hoping to become an Internet star, or maybe they’re looking to document an event. Sometimes they’re just looking to say hello to friends and family. Whatever their motivation, they probably haven’t considered the artistic potential of their medium. Individually, a Vine is about as good as it is long. When strung together in series, a strange new artform is created. Vinepeek provides this new context. By streaming the newest Vines as they’re posted, Vinepeek offers users the opportunity to “watch the world in realtime.”

In just one minute on the site, I saw everything from people demonstrating their singing abilities, to wannabe actors, to friends enjoying a food fight in the kitchen. The videos ranged from friendly shout outs to absurd parodies. While most were in English, at least one certainly took place in a French-speaking country. But all were posted at around the same time.

Watching Vines on this site has a strange way of shrinking the world. You watch each Vine in the context of the others, making strange connections between videos that never were intended to be viewed at the same time. At one point, for example, I saw three different birthday parties celebrated over the course of several minutes. Though the people were turning different ages and celebrating in different parts of the world, they all turned to the same medium to share their moment.

You also get a sense of the diversity of the Web. In one moment you’re watching a heart beating in an x-ray; in another you’re connecting with a celebrity. Vinepeek is a cross section of the Internet that quickly shows you the depth and variety on the Internet at any given moment.

I should warn you, though, once you get to the website, recognize that this is not always safe for work. It is, after all, an unfiltered view of the World Wide Web. And yes, even in six-second format, there are obscene images. But even this contributes to the artistic nature of the experiment. It proves that the stream is unedited and uncensored. It reminds you that what you’re watching is authentic.

You could argue that this is not art, and you’d certainly have a fair point. Individually, there is no artistic merit to most of the clips. They are poor quality videos that, for the most part, took little to no thought to create. It is when they are viewed together that something magical happens. Vinepeek is an instantaneous zeitgeist machine that shows you an up to the minute view of the world (with Internet access).