South African rap video among Guggenheim winners

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A music video for Afrikaans rap group Die Antwoord from South Africa was among the winners of the worldwide video art competition “You Tube Play” unveiled on Thursday at the Guggenheim museum.

The top 25 videos from emerging video artists around the world were shown for the first time Thursday night on a large screen at New York’s Guggenheim, which created the contest with video-sharing website YouTube. It was aimed at showcasing innovative online video artists.

Varying from animated line drawings to cartoons, the top 25 videos were created by 39 artists from 14 countries.

Rising hip-hop group Die Antwoord’s “Zef Side,” by video artist Sean Metelerkamp, was among those picked. It features slow-motion shots and deadpan interviews of the group that is made up of frontman Ninja, blonde singer Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek, who only started performing more than a year ago.

Other winning videos included “Birds on the Wires” from Jarbas Agnelli of Sao Paulo, Brazil, featuring instrumental music and shots of birds perched on wires resembling a bar of music, and the brief “Seaweed,” showing a man stretching his arms, from London-based Remi Weekes and Luke White.

The exhibition serves as a sign of older art institutions such as The Guggenheim giving a nod to the growing power of the Internet and YouTube to distribute art globally, as well as the growing influence of video in all forms of entertainment, from the art world to theater and books.

“In the last two decades, the moving image has been fully absorbed into critical contemporary-art practices,” Richard Armstrong, the museum’s director, said in a statement.

He said the exhibit celebrated online video as an art form “and the Internet’s power to catalyze and disseminate new forms of digital media.”

The chosen video artists included nine from the United States, two from Canada, two from England and two from South Africa. Winners were chosen from more than 23,000 submissions originating in 91 countries.

The videos can be seen at and will be shown at New York’s Guggenheim from October 22 to 24 while similar events are being held at other Guggenheim locations.

The jury for “YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video”, included artist Laurie Anderson, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, U.S. musicians Animal Collective and Japanese visual artist Takashi Murakami.

Originally only 20 videos were going to be picked but the number was increased to 25 due to the high quality of submissions, YouTube and the Guggenheim said in a statement.

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte