When German car DIY enthusiasts wanted to repair their VW Beetle or Opel Ascona, they consulted the respective volume of “Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst” (“Do It Yourself”). The series, which sold in its millions, dispensed advice on oil changes, piston seizure and clutch replacement.
What used to be a slim, tastefully illustrated volume is now available in more garish electronic form on YouTube, where advice is dispensed on all life’s little problems free of charge and without obligation. Whether you want to find out how to walk elegantly in high heels, learn Arabic quickly or use chopsticks efficiently, the virtual video library has the answer.
The 100 funniest, weirdest and most wonderful video tutorials can be viewed in the foyer of the HNF.
The films reflect the current trend towards DIY. More and more people are enjoying DIY and using videos to help them carry out car repairs and home improvements alike. But the exhibition deals with more exotic topics too. You can find out how to catch a kangaroo with your bare hands, carve a pipe out of a carrot, become an air guitar virtuoso and wash your hair in zero-gravity conditions.
The exhibition first opened in 2014 at the Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV) in Dortmund’s U-Tower. Cologne-based media artists Volker Morawe and Tilman Reiff have modified an old jukebox for the HNF, enabling visitors to select their favourite videos from among the top 100 for showing on the big screen.
The quality of the videos varies as much as their subject matter: some were filmed using a smartphone, while others are pretty professional productions. But they all, without exception, leave the viewer wondering why on earth people would want to take on such tasks without remuneration and of their own free will. Are they on a mission, or do they do it for the love of their fellow men, to raise their own profile or in the hope of fame and glory? There are evidently a number of reasons in play: some of the videos reflect a selfless desire to help, while others are product placements in disguise. That said, they do have one thing in common – they are entertaining, funny and somewhat startling.