YouMake ReMake 311.
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
Within just a few years of its release, YouTube has become the premier
application for on-the-spot entertainment.
Many artists use YouTube as
their main venue, and it is becoming increasingly easy to enjoy art of almost
all forms from in front of a computer screen. In the age of the Internet, the
gap between traditional performance and digital entertainment seems as wide as
Renana Raz, a performance artist based in Tel Aviv, is trying to
bridge that gap through her new concept, YouMake,ReMake. Raz explains: “The
concept is to invite artists from different fields of the arts to respond to
YouTube clips on stage. The concept started when I noticed that every social
encounter ends in a YouTube session – someone asks the question, ‘Did you see
this or that on YouTube?’ One would expect this shift in public attention to be
disturbing to traditional stage performers, but Raz sees potential in the
phenomenon. “On one hand, I felt that it’s fascinating and amazing; but on the
other hand, as a stage artist I felt a bit frustrated, so I decided to bring
YouTube to my territory – to create a dialogue between video and
YouMake,ReMake works like this: About 13 performers produce a
total of nine or 10 sequences. A YouTube clip is projected behind the artists
before, during, or after their responses, which differ greatly from one another.
Either the performer or Raz, who assists in directing and fine-tuning the
responses, chooses the clips.
“They [the responses] are not just mirror
replicas but more like a comment. We try to be very strict – we keep the same
movement and feel, but we try to put a different context into it. The dialogue
creates a new unit, something that is neither YouTube nor onstage,” Raz
While the Internet will play a crucial role in the
YouMake,ReMake project (many of the performances are already on YouTube), Raz is
hesitant to call it a Web-based project. “We have a site (youmakeremake.com),
and we shot the responses and edited them for the Web. But it’s a stage project,
and I want to keep it this way. I take the clips and put them online in order to
have a library. The idea was born from the Net, and I want to bring it back to
the Net,” she says.
The concept was recently performed at the Suzanne
Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. Ofer Amram, a longtime colleague of Raz, explains his
role in the performance: “Renana showed me a [YouTube] clip of two grizzly bears
fighting, and then asked if I have an idea about doing something physical with
it. So I had an image of two men fighting, with one of them dressed in drag. It
was an intuitive decision.
Then we studied the exact choreography of this
struggle and built the response.”
YouMake,ReMake first hit the stage at
the Intima Dance Festival last year. Since then, Raz has expanded the project in
Israel, creating new sequences and signing up more performers.
is that I can go to different cities in the world to work with local artists and
create local additions. The advantage of YouTube is that you can find local and
universal [clips] on it,” she says.
What is it about the project that
really distinguishes it from YouTube? “I would like to make it happen in real
life as well,” she says.
Rather than entertaining and engaging the public
solely through the often impersonal context of the Internet, Raz hopes to create
a real platform for human interaction.
The project was presented to
curators and organizers at the International Exposure at the Suzanne Dellal
Center in December, and the website is set up for collaboration.
hopes that YouMake,ReMake catches on around the world, Amram describes the
essence of the project: “It’s more like playing than working. Because it’s a
short clip, you just have to think intelligently about what you want to do, and
then it’s really fun and simple. In this case you are not working from someone
else’s work, you are just reacting to someone else’s output – it makes it less