ICA The no-Show

Linked from the front page of BBC News this afternoon: ICA: The Show, a new bi-monthly video magazine on contemporary arts, released by the ICA. Since I’m sort-of up to my neck in web video at the moment, I aimed my browser in the general direction, and hit the ‘thataway’ button.

First up – ooh, round-cornered gradient-filled delicately-shadowed design. Straight from the Web 2.0 stylebook, I see. Quite nice, actually. A quick poke around reveals flattering comments from the Arts Council and the DMCS, but enough of that – let’s have a look at the video, eh?

Er… ah. No. See, the download link takes you to Sony’s YourPSP site, only there’s so much Flash slopping around that it seems they can’t deep-link you, so you have to stumble around and find ‘The Show’ all over again. Classy, really joined-up thinking that. Then once you’ve found it and clicked the ‘download’ thing (and navigated the popups), you find your way to a registration form which at one point threw a Java error at me. Not JavaScript, but Java – what?

The registration procedure requires your name, address, date of birth, gender, marketing preferences… and the model number and serial code of your PSP. Without those, you can’t register, and hence you can’t download The Show. Even though it’s most likely some variation on the MPEG4 theme and hence playable on any PC. Back at The ICA site, there’s precisely no visible feedback address: the only useful note I could find reads simply ‘all rights reserved,’ which is hardly 2.0 of them.

So let’s be clear about this: the ICA have hooked up with the marketing department of Sony, and between them they’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to complicate the download process and make the video available only to existing PSP owners. I can only assume that they’re doing this to prevent those pesky iPod Video owners from seeing The Show.

There are many ways of approaching video on the web, and many potential models for its use. This one is, I predict and hope, dead in the water. Idiots.

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