Art as Channel


ART AS CHANNEL is a framework for physical video sculptures made of multiple monitors that display curated videos streamed wirelessly from the internet.

I developed a scaleable process using Python scripts & the Raspberry Pi, a credit-card-sized single-board computer, to produce a series of self-updating video installations. I see video as a material that can be reworked & repositioned much like newspaper clippings were used by collage artists in the early 1900s. The script sources media from youtube and uses filters to sort & order videos by view counts, most discussed & most commented on, as well as a variety of search terms. Curating from the most viewed images in the world while configuring the videos together into physical installations creates an opportunity to investigate what we watch & how we watch it.

Getting started with the Raspberry Pi involved setting up Raspbian and WIFI. Then the challenge of diving into already built python scripts that play youtube videos from the terminal. Youtube-dl, and yt were two scripts that worked together to stream or download videos from youtube. Yt specifically sorts and orders videos based on most views and search terms. The videos can be played from the terminal which is important because playing videos from the desktop image and browser is too slow with the tiny Raspberry Pi. I also needed to experiment with simple media players like mplayer and OMXplayer to understand their parameters. I took from the search function in yt to write a bash script. Using youtube-dl with a simple python bash script to communicate with the youtube API and to stream and loop videos which respond to particular searches, for example the top viewed video on youtube for Aaliyah.

Video watchers.

User Scenario
Currently, Art as Channel is realized as a table top item that can also be plugged into any screen. Videos play on the two faced surface of the object and when the user takes interest in the video content they can plug the device into the main screen in their house.

To create my thesis I used a Raspberry Pi with wifi dongle, a custom bash script that makes requests to the youtube api, two TFT 4.3 inch LCD monitors, a USB 5V 1A rechargeable battery pack and USB micro cord which powers the Raspberry Pi, 4 AA batteries and required circuitry to power the two screens, one component video splitter cable, a custom made 3D printed casing frame and the walls of the frame are made of laser cut plexiglass.

This process has allowed me to see the great potential that is held in the Raspberry Pi for video installations. Also, I'm enthralled with growing world, network, production house, subculture community, pop music distribution and ultimate collected subconscious display that is youtube. Sourcing and re-contextualizing content from youtube allows me to meditate on the way the internet makes us perform.