Despite the surge of Rube Goldberg videos popping up every few weeks, this one gets my vote by staying on topic and keeping the aesthetic and mechanisms consistent throughout. I get a science crush every time I've seen it, using well known science project tropes to move to the next one. Advertising the Google Science Fair competition which hopes to find the brightest minds capable of creating the most interesting projects relevant to today, the final results will well be worth keeping an eye on.
These videos always remind me of an old post by Henry Jenkins on the link between vaudeville and viral videos. Initially written as a response to OK GOs first music clip Here it Goes Again, he argues that the use of wonder and awe in the video is an appropriate response for our time. If a few 3D renders can create or alter anything, then the only method left to impress people is through authenticity.
It was a form which placed a high premium on virtuosity -- on the ability of the performer to impress the spectator with their mastery.
The use of the long take provides the only possible way of proving genuine talent – or perseverance – has worked well for OK GO, who continue to create memorable video clips. Their take on the Goldberg contraption in This Too Shall Pass is a wonderful video, with action timed perfectly to the music. I shudder to think how many takes they had to do for each of their clips, but the end result is always a worthy pay off.
In a context of constant variation, the individual performer tried above all else to be memorable, which typically meant a strong reliance on spectacle and a desire to intensify emotional effects. Similarly, the YouTube performer wants to be so spectacular that you feel compelled to pass their content along to your friends. It depends upon extreme spectacles, shocks, and stunts (the Jackass side of the platform) to produce content that will move virally across the blogosphere. The best YouTube content is content that is so unbelievable that it has to be shared.
It would be irresponsible for me to forget about the collaboration between Berg and Touch, who created their Nearness video that explores the possibilities of RFID. By creating a video that uses the language of Goldberg contraptions without the use of any contact and only through proximity, they highlighted how magical the technology can be. It's in these adaptations of the use of causal events that always delight. But enough about that. It's in the sheer aesthetic joy of several science fair projects joined together that makes this video so much fun.