With over 8 million registered users, Vimeo is the world’s largest network of amateur filmmakers. Over 10 million people in the U.S. alone visit the site each month and 70% of the user-base is located internationally. Many of its users are concentrated in dense urban areas, such as London, New York and Los Angeles.
Recent developments in communication technology and network theory have aroused a vast sum of creative capital, which Vimeo has harnessed to fundamentally reorganize film culture around the world. Vimeo is now in a position to actualize an offline, physical network to complement the existing web community for a new type of social experience around film.
We understand video both as a cultural production and as a medium of producing culture. The traditional model of this process is found in Hollywood. The film studio institution produces a feature-length film, which is distributed to the masses. The viewer is merely a vessel for the consumption of movie culture. Standing in stark contrast to that model, Vimeo is a highly democratic platform that empowers the user with the capacity to act as viewer, critic and filmmaker. This distinction reflects a conceptual shift in which the experience of film becomes an immersive, democratic process with potential social and political agency through social networking and crowd-sourcing.
Vimeo is a network, and when it goes offline it does not call for a building. Architecture, in the traditional sense, is undesirable because of its static nature and its actual weight and cost. A building, pavilion, or any other kind of physical structure is useless for Vimeo to own. On the other hand, we can consider Vimeo as an event, and liken its manifestation in an urban context to the action of embedding videos into different websites. We can then imagine that existing buildings or structures in a city become “sites” into which particular events are embedded. This concomitance has the capacity to generate more or less friction in order to create unique experiences. With multiple events occurring simultaneously throughout the urban fabric, a new network emerges where temporality is a catalyst for spatial transformation. This localized network provides a means to engage with user-generated, i.e. local, content. Its high permeability and inherent plasticity enables the user to navigate his or her own cinematic experience.
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