Talking About Ryeberg

By Ryeberg | Mar 1, 2010

Young Ryeberg wants to mention a few of the incoming links it received in its tender postnatal months. The first came from Toronto-based writer Leah Sandals at Ne Dit Pas Mon Coeur on the very day we went live — June 14, 2009. She linked to Ryeberg on the recommendation of media critic Marc Weisblott. That was quick. How’d he know?

Chandler Levack at Toronto’s own Eye Weekly featured Ryeberg in her “Daily Distraction”: “It’s a site meant for book marking, and a living viral gallery. Thank you Ryeberg for understanding the internet, so I don’t have to.”

There was also Michelle Orange at Rumpus, an excellent online magazine with values very similar to Ryeberg’s, who prescribed Ryeberg as “the curator for YouTube fatigue.” Paul Giacherio at Rigamarole said: “YouTube never sounded so smart.” Paul Isaacs over at Canada’s smartest magazine, The Walrusdescribed Ryeberg as “elegant” and made note of how many Ryeberg curators were also Walrus contributors. Bad Day Magazine, the Canadian arts and culture quarterly suggested Ryeberg to those “lost in the world of YouTube.”

Bad Day Magazine

Russell Smith’s fabulous Globe article provided the most thorough early examination of what Ryeberg does. Smith says, quite rightly, Ryeberg’s curated videos are “fascinating in two major ways: (1) they guide us to pieces either beautiful or curious that were probably unknown to us and (2) they are personal essays about their authors. So they illuminate both the art and the critic. Attempts at sorting the pullulating mass of videos on the Web have been made before: There are video-sharing sites such as Nizmlab, and the daily-video-buzz specialists like The Daily Tube, and the specialists in underground art films such as Chunnel. Most aggregators of video rank them according to popularity, or organize them according to theme. Ryeberg’s content is organized by curator, not by theme, which turns the focus onto the writers rather than the videos.”

HTML Giant, “the internet literature magazine blog of the future,” run by Blake Butler, asked an insightful question about Ryeberg: “How cool is it that this exists?” The answer: “Pretty cool.” The pretty cool Giant highlighted curated videos by Mary Gaitskill, Alana Wilcox, Peter Lynch, Alexandra Shimo, and Catherine Bush.

Over at the Art+Culture, film curator Taien Ng-Chan rhapsodized about Ryeberg, saying “The concept behind the website is simple, but brilliant… Each piece is wholly idiosyncratic, juxtaposing the selected video(s) with illuminating writing. Ryeberg sets the bar high for this new form of engagement with the world of internet video.” Art+Culture is all about fostering the arts and giving voice to a new generation of cultural critics. Check it out!

Ryeberg reappeared on Eye Weekly in November, 2009 on culture writer Kate Carraway’s “Required Reading,” which is always required reading. She says, “Do like me and spend 17 hours there.” Harpers Magazine spent time reading Mary Gaitskill’s “Lady Gaga In Hell” and provided a link to Ryeberg. Russell Smith mentioned Mary Gaitskill’s “Lady Gaga In Hell” in his Globe & Mail column, while discussing “the new nostalgia” for Polaroid pictures.

Elsewhere at Scrawled in Wax, Nav looked at how the cultural function of the magazine will change as the magazine as a cultural artefact changes. In his short essay, titled “Magazines as Machines,” he thinks, “what if the magazine becomes a curated collection of videos — maybe like Ryeberg; but maybe like Tumblr, where the scattered images are gathered under nothing more than a leading title. What if the thing we have turned to make sense of our world — to broaden ourselves, to edify ourselves, to ground our perspectives — changes so that, instead being the thing that marks out our place in the world by telling us about it, become the mechanism through which we establish our relationship to the world by doing away with editorial voice? That the screen of the tablet would no longer just metaphorically be a window to the world because you could climb through it and run around?”

Allen Tan, a designer & editor 
working in Berkeley, California, featured Ryeberg in a blog post about how the new curation culture can strip away context and therefore meaning from the work being curated. He cites Ryeberg as an example of how it’s possible that curators add meaning: “Adding context where there is none, or changing the context to bring a new perspective – that’s the value of curators. That’s what I’d like to see, beyond the FFFounds and the retweets and the Tumblrs that are nothing but reposts.”

Thanks Allen, and thanks to everyone for the many kind words.