Videoblog Workshop

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What Am I? by Dave

Here's our first video to review. Please watch this and then leave observations and affirmations in the comments. When it looks like everyone is finished posting I'll introduce step 2.

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At 9:10 PM, Blogger Kent Bye said...

You know there's not a whole lot of big things that I would change.

I thought that it was really well edited, and great choice of archival imagery.

Very powerful theme of the other.

I also really liked how the imagery became a lot more chaotic as the music crescendoed.

At about 80 to 90% way through, I thought that it might be a tad long. You could probably cut 10-15 seconds and still be all right.

Although it fits the music well.

The only other thought is that I would maybe add some shadows to the moving picture-in-pictures. Or maybe a small to medium-sized border.

Sometimes the black and white images blended together. And since you're talking about "the other," then this might be an additional theme of making sure that each of the juxtaposed images are separated from each other somehow more explicitly.

-Kent Bye.

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Verdi said...

The first step here is to say things you liked and or observed. We're not giving suggestions at this step.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Kent Bye said...

Oops -- Sorry about that.

I just did a quick brain dump.

I'll also add that I thought the left-to-right scrolling of background imagery was seamlessly put together. Nicely done.

Overall, I really enjoyed it.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Devlon said...

I really enjoyed this.

The constant motion moved me along, good pace with the music.

Some clips were delineated/framed in black, others were not, nice.

At 5:45 AM, Blogger Jen Simmons said...

Yeah, this process can feel really weird the first couple times -- the facilitator ends up seeming really bossy and strict. But follow the rules, and WOW -- it's a great process. As an artist you can relax and not have to brace yourself so much for the responses... you can be more vulnerable and open... there's no need (and no place) to get defensive...
SO be SURE to read the description of the process -- or more importantly, BE SURE TO READ VERDI's DIRECTIONS each step along the way and FOLLOW THEM. I've never done this online, only in person. It will be interesting to see if it can work online. Especially when "listening" requires reading carefully in a world where we all usually just skim / flip / click.

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Jen Simmons said...

I couldn't tell what this film is about / what was happening for the first while or so -- and I found that very engaging, very mysterious, and that dynamic pulled in my attention.
I found your choice to use the clip of fire in color, and the only piece in color very powerful and beautiful.
I love the found footage -- and the way you totally repurposed it.
I like your opening logo, and the way the guitar sound clicked over it before we expect any music.
There's also quite a bit of artifacting due to confused pulldown. Usually I'm always trying to prevent the "problem", but in your film I realized it can be used for great effect -- it gives your piece an interesting digital experimental quality, a post-modern overlay on pre-digital film footage.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Verdi said...

I thought it was beautiful.
I liked the fire at the end.
At some point about a quarter way through it was more than I could read and see and hear at once and I just let is wash over me - I noticed I had to make that switch.
I noticed lots of children.
I noticed they were old images - before my childhood.
I thought the pace that it moved from right to left seemed right to me.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Randolfe Wicker said...

The pace moving left to right was very effective.

The music really reflected the spirit of the images and the questions being asked.

The questioned asked were especially effective because they raised one startling possibility after another and continually expanded the possible definitions that could be attached to "self".

I wondered if the juxtapositing of categories using "vs" was an attempt to define reality or if it was intended to belittle common conceptions about categorization and assumed conflicts in life.

I liked the way everything worked together to create anticipation and raise questions.

At 8:58 PM, Blogger Verdi said...

Okay, it seems like it's time to move on to step 2. Everyone please read about this step - link is in the sidebar. In this step Dave is going to ask us questions.

Note: You can always chime in with an affirmation or observation at any time. It might be good to preface it with "affirmation" or "observation" so we know the context of your response.

At 6:52 AM, Blogger Dave H. said...

I appreciate these comments, and the helpful process of community response/critique, more than i can say. This is a great idea for a site and my hat's off to MV. Thank you everyone for taking the time to look at my video and comment on it.

I guess my biggest question is whether this video is dumb, not just in terms of aesthetics or technical ability, but in terms of content. you know, unhelpful and fake. i feel very deeply about violent or damaging responses to conflict, and the negative social effects of over-defining "the Other" (yes I know there can be some positive effects). My feelings and ideas are real and important to me, but it is easy for their expression to become cliché, so that worried me.

How do you think my use of antique footage affects my intention for this to address contemporary situations?

Cute kids looking sad/confused can be overused. Do you think it comes across hackneyed?

Does the transition from individual status (what am i?) to social conflict (what are we?) happen smoothly/comprehensibly?

I intentionally avoided using the label "nigger." Was that cowardly?

Folks have mentioned before that it runs long, and I'd like to hear more reaction to that.

Is the final question "or am i something more" redundant and unnecessary?

I'd like to encourage thought about many kinds of conflict rather than only the big ones of race, class, orientation, etc. Is the theme general enough to do that, or will someone just look and say "I'm not a racist so this isn't about me" and stop thinking?

If you didn't like it that much, or don't think it constructively encourages thought about social labelling and conflict, please eventually let me know (when it's appropriate in the process) so i can hear that perspective too.

Thank you again so much for the privelege of hearing your responses in a structured way.

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Jen Simmons said...

Okay - just to reiterate how the process works -- in this step, Step 2, Dave has asked us some questions. Carefully read his questions, (probably go watch the film again), and then respond to his questions. You can only answer what he has asked about -- you cannot (yet) start talking about anything you want to. You must restrain yourself and only answer in direct response to what's been asked. You can also (as Verdi said) keep doing Step 1 -- affirmations and observations. (As we add new steps along the way, you are always free to back up and add more to the previous steps). Dave can also keep asking questions... and we can answer his new questions. But that's it for now! Save your other thoughts until later -- maybe write them down someplace since it will be a couple days before we move on to Step 3 + 4.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Verdi said...

When you do this in person, the artist generally asks one question at a time because as soon as they say it everyone has a response. Since this is a blog and Dave could just list all of his questions, I'm wondering if that is overwhelming for people and thus nobody has answered any so far. So I thought I'd get the ball rolling by saying you can just choose to answer one or answer one at a time.

So that's what I'm doing - answering the first one that I had an answer for.

For me the use of antique footage and the use of "I" seemed at odds rather than antique footage and contemporary questions. To me it seems like even though the footage is old those questions are still with us.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Devlon said...

Sorry it's taken a while for me to contribute. Nothing wrong with the format of the process, just not enough hours in the day.

Anyway :)

Dave's biggest question: Is this dumb. My opinion, no. I found it interesting, thought-provoking and slightly moving.

I thought the use of the old footage was an indication that these issues aren't new, labels are I agree with Verdi on that one.

The lack use of that word might be seen as cowardly, but I can't say I'd have used it, it's pretty ugly.

The final question: "am I some thing more?" was nice, it left me with something to think about after.


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