Video Vortex: Nora Barry programme

Nora Barry is a producer and curator of digital visual media.

Barry launched the first site, The Bit Screen, for web cinema and interactive digital art in 1998 and curated weekly screenings on the site from 1998-2003. Based on her work with The Bit Screen, she was invited to curate a number of exhibitions for festivals and museums including: the ZKM in Karlsruhe, the ICC in Tokyo, Ars Electronica in Austria, SeNef in South Korea and USC ’s School of Cinema. Ms. Barry has also served on juries for the Cannes Film Critics Web Prize, the Seoul Digital Film Festival and the French Internet Film Festival.

Many of the artists whom Barry curated went on to win top prizes at festivals around the world. She tapped JibJab, a group which has won large commercial success in the US; she screened the Ill Clan in 1999, a collective which later established the Machinima Academy of Arts and Science. Beginning in 2000 and for the first several years of its existence, the Sundance Online Film Festival roster was comprised of digital media artists whose work had first been screened in a number of Ms. Barry’s different exhibitions; several of those artists won the top prize at the festival. In addition to highlighting the work of Machinima artists very early on, she also was the first to screen digital artists working with digital video and Flash – two years before Flash MX was released by Macromedia.

More recently Barry has been involved in producing networked online narrative projects, including “Descent to the Underworld” which linked 64 filmmakers around the world via the Internet2 to collaborate and produce 60 short films; and “Story Streams”, which networked together directors in Paris, Philadelphia, Mexico City and Montreal who collaborated via broadband to produce a live, networked film, in real time. She is currently developing an online, blogged, sitcom.

Barry has lectured at SIGGRAPH, IMAGINA and Ars Electronica, as well as at the Pompidou Museum, and the Festival of New Media in Montreal. She has published numerous articles and chapters, including “A History of Web Cinema” for MIT Press and “Digital Shanachies” for Ars Electronica Press. She wrote the introduction to “Narrative Forms in New Media”, published in September, 2006 and her article, “Talking Pictures and Networked Technologies” in Human Affairs Journal traced the emergence of visual media as the dominant communications form in the 19th and 20th centuries.

One of the first things that drew me to YouTube three years ago was the funny remix of television and news programs, as well as the access to archived materials to which an audience would not usually have access. These videos are in the Archived and News categories.

I have always loved the distribution that the web has afforded artists who might otherwise work in obscurity. These videos are in Artistic.

Finally, I am fascinated with the films being made with gaming engines – Machinima – and now with 2nd Life. These videos are under New Technologies.

New Technologies
1. 2nd Life: “Steven Colbert’s Dream”. A funny spin on the dream of Colbert, a comedian, and his fantasies of Soledad O’Brien, a news anchor, and Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
2. Machinima films: “Reich and Roll”. A spin on the Nazi war machine.
News and Current Event Videos

1. Remix of local news: “Alabama Leprechaun”. Someone took footage from a local news program and remixed it to a rap song. It became an Internet phenomena.

2. Remix of the US National Anthem using news footage: JibJab is a group of animators who gained popularity during the last presidential election with their satiric animations. This one parodies the national anthem.

3. Musical satire of the IPhone launch: “I Want an IPhone”. The fervor surrounding the launch of the first IPhone is set to the music of “I Did It My Way”, by David Pogue, a technology columnist for the New York Times.


1. “The Piano”: This is a beautiful and moving animated story about an old man, whose life passes before his eyes as he plays a piece on the piano.2. “Fool Lee”. A lovely web series about an orphan boy.

3. Online Art Gallery. George Aguilar has worked with online films and cine-poetry since 1998. He has begun creating virtual worlds to house his online art:

1. Footage from a TV show in the 1960’s, featuring Otis Redding:
2. Excerpt from a beauty pageant on TV that quickly became an Internet phenomena: