You may remember us writing about the announcement of the YouTube Play initiative back in June of this year.  It’s the art-focused contest sponsored by the video portal and the Guggenheim museum in New York that’s seeking to find video creators who are pushing the boundaries of online video and elevating the art form.

There were over 23,000 submissions, from 91 different countries, and YouTube announced yesterday that now the Guggenheim has narrowed the list down to 125.  They’re calling this The Short List.  Even though the submissions have been whittled down significantly, there’s still a lot of great variety in the remaining candidates.  According to the YouTube blog article:

“…you’ll find submissions from students, video artists, photographers, filmmakers, composers, video game programmers, an American Women’s Chess Champion, a comedy improv group, a Swedish rock band, a South African hip-hop group, an Australian electronic music producer – and a lot more.”

The next phase of YouTube Play involves the jurors paring the remaining 125 videos down to a total of 20, which will then make up the unique exhibit at the Guggenheim to be unveiled October 21, 2010.  The exhibit will run for three days, but will also be available for viewing on the YouTube Play Channel.

Check out the video YouTube made about The Short List:

There’s some serious creativity at work in that clip, giving us just a taste of what the eventual YouTube Play exhibit will be.  Coming on the heels of Chris Anderson’s op-ed piece at yesterday, this announcement of The Short List seems perfectly timed.  Anderson’s thesis is that online video accelerates innovation in a wide variety of fields because it gives innovators a wide audience and the motivation to strive for excellence.  And it’s nice to see a YouTube-led initiative like Play that shows how strongly they agree with Anderson.

Online video is breaking down long-held conventions and opening up a new world of possibilities.  Every day there are videos uploaded that push other industries and trades further forward.  YouTube Play looks set to highlight some pretty groundbreaking things in the world of fine art.  I, for one, am excited to see what the final 20 videos will offer–and more than that, what those 20 videos will inspire future filmmakers and artists to achieve.