YouTube as Digital Art Museum

Got a super-cool video in the works? Or one you’ve finished that’s languishing online, just waiting to be discovered? Here’s your chance to go viral and garner the esteem of the art world.

YouTube has teamed up with the Guggenheim Museum for a juried contest to collect and honor the 200 most creative short videos uploaded to YouTube. Nominated works don’t have to be brand new; they can be up to two years old. It is a “biennial” after all. But videos have to be less than 10 minutes long, so epics calling out for editing need not apply. The deadline to submit is July 31, 2010. Check out this cool video that explains all the details, coming in at exactly 2 minutes and 21 seconds:

Eye of the beholder: I know it when I see it

As we all know all too well, YouTube overfloweth with all sorts of not-ready-for-prime-time stuff of the kids-do-the-darndest-things variety, homemade music videos, etc. That’s what we love about it, right? But, even with curation and recommendations, it can be hard to find anything really worth watching (kind of like television).

What’s exciting about this contest is the chance to seek and find some truly inspiring works that rise to the level of art because of their level of innovation and uniqueness. And the contest has the democratic spirit of accessibility. You don’t have to be an already-discovered A-list talent to win; unlike art exhibits in museums in the real world, the gates are truly open to all.

According to the Guggenheim, video has become the medium of choice of many aspiring artists. “In the last two decades, there has been a paradigm shift in visual culture. The moving image has been fully absorbed into critical contemporary-art practices, and now we are witnessing the power of the Internet to catalyze and disseminate new forms of digital media, including online video… YouTube Play will recognize the current effect of new technologies on creativity by showcasing exceptional talent working in the ever-expanding realm of digital media.”

The Ultimate YouTube Playlist

I can’t wait to see the collection, which wil be available on the YouTubePlay channel.  The top 20 will be shown this fall in New York, Berlin, Bilbao and Venice. 

Which online videos do you think deserve to make the top 200? Have any YouTube videos rocked your world, seized your imagination, taken your breath away? Show me some links!