As its introductory page will tell you, it’s hard to pinpoint who or what the Bottom Union is about. Let’s just call it video art made for the sake of making video art. Erik Nelson, who helps curate and contributes to the Public Access Network, directs most of Bottom Unions videos. Half-comedy, half-art, the site’s satire and moments of hilarious cultural criticism have been in the works since December 2004. Besides the excellent content, the site’s major claim to fame is the incredibly successful Carp Caviar Promo Month, where vloggers and others inclined to make video art create fake advertisements for Carp Caviar (which usually have nothing to do with carp or caviar) and get posted on the Bottom Union vlog.
Videos typically last one to three minutes. The content often takes a satirical but critically nonspecific look at our culture, ranging from videos of union members and singer/songwriters to men pissing off cliffs and people traveling through Philadelphia. It’s random, but the quality is consistently good. New videos are uploaded frequently but somewhat irregularly, though the site gets updated almost every day during Carp Caviar Promo Month. If you squint, you can see the rise of vlogs and the increasing use of video production and editing software in the increasing number submissions for Carp Caviar commercials (2004’s had a handful of submissions, 2005 got over 50, and 2006 received over 130).
Check out Carp Caviar. All the big creative vloggers come out to play that month (that month being November). Everyone from Michael Verdi to Valdezatron has submitted videos for this noncompetitive art project.