Media item

VideoVortex #3 11.Sarah Kesenne

‘On Gig Flix’

What a thrill to see the videos Latin-American U2 fans uploaded on the web. They show the same Vertigo tour shows of the concertfilm ‘U23D’ I saw the evening before in Brussels’ IMAX film venue. It is said to be the first 3-D multi-camera recording of a live event ever. All the muscles of this 85 minute immersive experience of tangible high definition, spectacular spidercam shots and graphic overlays contrast highly with the ephemeral qualities of these short, handheld ‘cellflix’ of Argentinian and Mexican teenagers. But they are both signs of our times.

In one of these amateur videos we find our 15 years old cameraman laughing at the lens in extreme close-up, meanwhile joking to his friends. They’re all waiting for the kick-off of the long expected U2 concert of the Vertigo tour. Night has fallen, and he sweeps his phone 360 grades around: a generic camera movement to express exposition. We get vaguely an idea of the enormous mass of people gathered in the football stadium, an average of 100 000 people according to the website of ‘U23D’. We seem miles away from the stage. Now the blaring lights of this sports arena go out, and for a long time the quicktime player shows nothing but a black screen, if not for the glowing mobile screens, like dirty pixels. The start of the concert is pure ecstasy, and abstract: a distant light explosion and videowalls popping up in the dark. The phone returns to his pocket, while much closer to the action the ‘U23D’ crew gets its multi-camera set rolling. To achieve the 3-D stereoscopical effect, the concert is filmed simultanuously by a double camera apparatus: a grateful metaphore for the multiple video practices I want to discuss here.


Sarah Kesenne is an art historian working in Brussels for a documentary platform.


Instituut voor Netwerk Cultuur
Publication date:
17 November 2010


Institute of Network Cultures
Bilkent University Department of Communication and Design
Original format:
Instituut voor Netwerkcultuur