Stupid Pet Trick Pizza Party (2009)
As part of the online programme, curator Michael Connor provided the pizza and took us back to the heady days of 2004, in a personal reflection on the recent history of viral videos. Expected was a near timeline of well-known online moving image that looks at the way ideas spread on the net, plus lo-fi animations, stunts gone wrong and strange pet tricks in all their pleasurably choppy, blocky, pre-YouTube glory. Plus pepperoni.
Connor introduced the programme by writing:
“Back in November 2004, when I was working at FACT as a curator, I organized a screening of short ‘viral videos’ (videos that spread widely through email and word of mouth) that I had found on the Web. I also served pizza to all comers, ordered from a place called American Style Pizza Slice (does that place still exist?).
It wasn’t that long ago really, but it was also a different world. First, because I had not yet discovered that I have celiac disease and can’t eat gluten; and second, because Flash Video had not yet revolutionized the way people watch videos on the Web (on sites like YouTube). The amount of video online, and the number of people watching, were tiny, tiny fractions of what there is today. The videos in my original programme are now familiar fare to anyone who has seen YouTube – lo-fi animations, stunts gone wrong and strange pet tricks – but at the time they were a little bit more alien.
For this screening, we’re going to watch the exact same videos again, at the exact same choppy, blocky quality that we enjoyed in 2004. I’ll also add a timeline of well-known online moving image content from the// days before YouTube. And once again, you’re going to eat pizza, but this time I will have a gluten-free option.”