This is a style I am completely unused to. I'm stuck in the past when it comes to YouTube Poop... I'm most familiar with the medium being sentence mixing and deliberately clumsy Photoshop elements applied to a single episode of some television show, or else chopping footage into a screaming neon hellscape of "ear rape". Like many viewers, I'm used to thinking a Poop is still in the style of DurhamRockerZ or DaThings1. The Third is heavily edited but with a smooth, thoughtful feel to its contents. Deliberately disturbing imagery such as that in the thumbnail is used not as a jump scare, but as something introduced slowly, organically, almost a matter of fact. Even if I don't have the context, I can still understand that a story is being told. Clearly, further research was needed.
thebluespectre: How did you first find out about Youtube Poops? What was the first one you ever saw?
Kitajima: In roughly 2007 or 2008, I was introduced to it from a legal guardian, who stumbled upon the videos on accident one way or another. They were some of the first videos I had ever really seen online. However, once my guardian became keen to the inappropriate content of these videos, I was more or less not allowed to visit YouTube because it hosted stuff that was considered unsuitable. It was't until 2011-2012 I rediscovered these videos.
thebluespectre: What was inappropriate about it? I've seen many inappropriate YouTube Poops.
Kitajima: Well, I was very young at the time, and it was sort of both my own and my parent's first introduction to YouTube, it was jarring to them to see seemingly innocent videos of familiar cartoon characters swearing and telling sexual jokes.
thebluespectre: What do you think the "purpose" of YouTube Poops are? Do they need to have one?
Kitajima: I do not feel these videos necessarily need a purpose, but what I would like is if the creators of them assigned them a purpose. To me, there are several ways they can serve a purpose. It can be for the creator, who simply wants to make something they enjoy watching, as some sort of release, but what is more interesting is if they have a unique vision they want to share, or some sort of message. It is rare to find such cases in YouTube Poops. Better examples can be found in the past, where independent artists used analogue technology to critique and mock media and culture. Take for instance the multi media performance group "Emergency Broadcast Network," they were very much ahead of their time, they used samples of throwaway media back in the 1990's to articulate their opinions of government policies, crafting music and videos in a way that resembles classic YouTube Poop Music Videos.
thebluespectre: Interesting. What do you base your videos off of? Is there any creator or group in particular which gave you inspiration?
Kitajima: Citing one inspiration would be tough. I feel I have been inspired by many artists of multiple mediums. In terms of YouTube Poops, I feel I owe a lot of my inspiration to everyone. I have seen so many different styles, observation has taught me a lot. Particularly, I have always enjoyed those with a unique or well done style. LinkOnDrugs, AwfulFawful, madanyomous, Prophet Mohammed (a little known YouTube Pooper who was active around 4 years ago) and others. My main inspirations for videos come from music. Interesting songs and groups spark visions and creativity for me. Chakra, Akira Inoue, Mac DeMarco, EBN, Harry Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and more, are among my favorites that I enjoy showcasing in videos. I like music that I can find meaning in personally. Other artists, ones in my family, and those from the past, such as Henry Darger, a recent fascination of mine, have helped inspire me. For 80 years, he was a nobody. He lived a tortured existence and essentially any form of human spirit he may of had was broken. During his life, he created amazing, unique art that went unnoticed until he died. On top of that, he wrote multiple books upwards of 15,000 pages each. It adds to the art. It makes you think. Why did someone create what they did? How could someone operate the way he did his entire life? I would like to imagine and know what it was like to be that way sometimes. The artists themselves fascinate and inspire me sometimes.
thebluespectre: Art can be powerful, yeah. How do you think your video skills have evolved with practice?
Kitajima: My video skills have come a very long way. I have created videos since about 2009. Like many, I began using basic programs such as Windows Movie Maker and paint. They are a good introduction into more powerful software such as Vegas and Photoshop. I am saddened to see Microsoft push back and slowly cease support for these programs, they are stripping away the tools from the next generations. They are killing creativity. In terms of the videos I am making now, I am trying to use all of the skills in film making and art that I have learned up to this point and combine it all. Mixed media art has always been my favorite, and with the skills i have learned, I can experiment with all sort of ideas. With the Internet, almost everything in terms of media is at my disposal, essentially I am no longer confined to limitations. I can create almost anything I can envision.
thebluespectre: What kind of advice would you give a new YouTube Pooper or artist who wants to try making videos?
Kitajima: BE DIFFERENT! I understand it may take time to learn new skills to get to that point, I think YouTube Poops are a great entryway into mixed media art. You can learn all sorts of unusual editing techniques. Think of different ways they can be applied. Voice a message you want to be heard. Release your emotions. I must admit, I am very discontent with the state of YouTube Poops right now. It is moving towards commercialization in a way. We see YouTube Poop channels marketing themselves with custom thumbnails and adapting the format of mainstream YouTube channels. It is an immediate put off for me. What made YouTube Poops unique were how it served as a counter to normal YouTube, how easily one could fall into an odd rabbit hole of unfamiliar and bizarre content. I wish people would work to bring that "shock" value of YouTube Poops back. I aimed to do something similar in my work. Everything is so much the same now. I feel the community has staled. Do not abandon the skills you have learned, find some way to use them in the future, otherwise it is a waste.
thebluespectre: Any last words before we end the interview?
Kitajima: Create the content you would like to see made. Include what you personally like in your work, because that is what defines the content you create as that of your own. I cannot stress the importance of individuality enough. If you stand out, you will be noticed. Go out and find your own interests and pursue them. Do not allow yourself to be simply spoon fed content. Take what you hear with a grain of salt and be able to see multiple perspectives of every story. The Internet is the ultimate library/tool that you can utilize to serve a plethora of purposes. Use it to become your own person. Use it for self-improvement, creation, and relaxation. But do not get lost in it. The real world is full of wonders as well. Friends can make a difference, and a life worth living. Do not take them for granted.
thebluespectre: Thank you very much.
Kitajima: The thanks are to you, I appreciate this opportunity.