ISSN: 14742756
First published in 2002
2 issues per volume
Volume 11 Issue 2-3
Cover Date: September 2013
Video-making, Harlem Shaking: Theorizing the interactive amateur
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Authors:  Abigail Keating 
DOI: 10.1386/ncin.11.2-3.99_1

amateur video,YouTube,Harlem Shake,Web 2.0,meme,popular culture,interactive

The aim of this article is to interrogate the recent YouTube phenomenon of ‘Harlem Shake’ (2013) as an interactive amateur video-making collective. I argue that the significance of the meme from an amateur film studies perspective lies in the realm of three overlapping areas of: the productive interaction that occurs among amateur creators online; the generic adherence to the narrative, technical and aesthetic ‘rules’ that define the trend; and the problematization of personal control that comes to light as a consequence of both co-creation and global exhibition. Through a detailed discussion of the traditional distinctions between amateurism and professionalism, public and private media-making, and the notion of YouTube as a democratizing yet monetizing platform, I argue that ‘Harlem Shake’ reflects the consumption of culture amid the Web 2.0 generation and that its semiotic code represents the underlying structure of the paradoxical landscape on which it has burgeoned.
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