remix in time and mosaic

Today we got talking about remix being present in pottery and mosaic, and I was immediately reminded of a school excursion I took in primary school where one of the activities was to create a mosaic piece from pieces of broken plates and pottery we smashed to pieces ourselves. In my head I don’t even remember the location of the excursion, nor the room I was in. I do however very vividly remember the art itself. I loved sifting through the pile of broken tiles on the floor, searching for anything colourful to create my own art with on a square tile I was given. Once completed I gave the work to my mum.

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I remember being so fascinated with the concept of destruction, hitting the hammer on the china and destroying complete objects until they existed only in pieces. This process of course is simple in terms of reference. ‘Recycling’. Taking something, destroying it to the point where it loses meaning in purpose and form, and re-shaping it into something completely different. I immediately got thinking, trying to put this experience into context. Where was this excursion? It’s funny. As soon as I concluded that it was some sort of museum, Hugh began talking about the remixing of religions and culture in history. Completely mirroring my thought process.

Religion of course, has metamorphosed through the ages. Most religions are after all, simple (OK, maybe not simple) hybrids of one another. Regions transform and people ‘swap’, re-inventing themselves, re-inventing religion, and re-inventing culture. During the Rule of Emperor Constantine, it was decided that the concept of the many gods the people held accountable for the universe was too ‘complicated’ a belief. In turn, it was decided that the many gods should join together into the one Christian god, that people should worship one instead of many. So Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. A remix of culture. Ironically, religious art has been documented throughout times on clay-made pottery. Much of which was later smashed up;   rebirth in the form of mosaic.

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Approaching this assignment with a completely blank mind in terms of what I want, I decided one of the simplest/most effective parts of remix that I love to see, is the effecting of movement. A few days earlier, Montaigne uploaded footage of herself dancing on her Facebook page and I remember thinking that it was perfect. My challenge towards myself was to limit my pressing of the undo button to only six presses (six being my favorite number). I decided upon this rule so that my own focused ‘nit picking’ would not overcomplicate the process. I also want this assignment to be beyond the conventional. I don’t want my result to be ‘ neat’ and ‘pretty’, I want people to be able to see that I have experimented. I also do not want to do this entire assignment in one sitting as I am in different frames of mind each day. I want to impact this work gradually, and I want it to remain ‘fresh’.

Sitting 1:

I downloaded the clip of Montaigne dancing by herself in her family’s house and immediately manually balanced the colour so that the image became more clear and resolved. I decided I wanted about a minute’s footage, so I trimmed sections at random and overlaid them, changing their opacity so that multiple clips were playing and visible at once. Once I was happy with the complexity of the layering, I changed the duration times of selected overlays, speeding some up and slowing others down. When played together, I am extremely pleased with this effect. A few overlays seemed too close together, so I also flipped and dragged a few on the screen. During this process I tried to press the play button as few times as I could. Once I was happy with the overall vibe I had created, I individually selected each clip and manipulated the colour effects quite drastically. I had no real process when it came to this, I simply dragged the dots around not paying attention to what I was doing until I was pleased. Beginning to think about the audio, for now I am happy with what the clip sounds like with no manipulation. We will see what happens next sitting!

Sitting 2:
Watching back the progress I decided that a little something was missing, so I downloaded various clips of birds in flight off YouTube and overlaid them into various areas of the work (changing colour masks and cropping to see fit). After adding a slow motion effect to only the bird clips, the fluid movement of the birds when paired with all the layers of dance seems to have a soothing, harmonizing effect, transforming the original footage all the more.

Negativland

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Negativland is an experimental band from America who remixes or ‘culture jams’ appropriated material and music into art that is completely different from the originals.Mark Hosler, Richard Lyons,David Wills, aka The Weatherman and Peter Conheim make up the group’s current members, also  founders of record label ‘Seeland Records‘, created as a means to release the band’s controversial music. Audio and visuals are collaborated into a single piece of work that is made into something alternative, however since the group’s formation in 1979, the group have faced only two lawsuits involving copyright infringement

In 1991 Negativland released a single with the large title ‘U2’ displayed on the packaging, and ‘Negativland’ in a much smaller font. U2’s Island Records label sued Negativland in response for violating trademark law. Negativland argue that their use of U2’s and others’ material falls under the fair use clause, and released a book and CD package titled ‘Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2, focusing on the lawsuit.

Video 1: 

For my first video I decided I wanted to achieve a kind of Tony Abbott parody. I am very glad to finish it, as Final Cut Pro crashed on my computer, and despite its autosave feature, I lost almost the entire project. For this remix, I decided to focus on Abbott’s ‘Stop the Boats’ policy which is quite controversial and still very relevant in time. Whilst searching around for boat footage to use, I came across ‘Lamas with Hats Episode 2′, which I was already familiar with and knew would actually be perfect. Experimenting with some dodgy editing (I am new to this kind of edit so bare with me), I was able to replace the llama who sank the boats’ head with an image of Tony Abbott wearing a swimming cap and goggles (the original image may be found here), placing recorded footage of my own mouth opening and closing on top of it so he appeared to be talking. I also placed a still image of my mouth over the image when his face appeared onscreen but not speaking. At the beginning and end I sourced some footage found on youtube to add a little bit of context. The first clip is a part of his campaign, where he ironically says that Australians “need to keep their heads above water”. I also played around with the quote “stop the boats”. The final version I felt needed a little sprucing up, so I added a free music sample I found online with a kind of uplifting, optimistic, beachy theme, working with the irony I attempted to conjure perfectly.  Although I am aware that the editing is a little bit novice, I learned some new skills and I am overall pretty happy with the complete product.

Video 2: 
War is not the Aswer

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to remix something Harry Potter, and I am extremely pleased with the result! I took footage from the scene where Voldemort rejoices to the crowd thinking Harry has died (yes, the scene with the laugh that has been remixed countless amounts of times) from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. I changed around the order of bits and pieces so that it fit Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’; the result, a new story where Voldemort comes to realise the error of his ways, preaching to the crowd “war is not the answer”. Malfoy is moved by his performance and transformed, he too, realising his bad judgement.

I think this edit is really funny, and I think it’s an absolutely perfect example of the soundtrack’s ability in completely changing the atmosphere and mood of something. I did not need to change too much at all, the song and the clip just seemed to fit together. The only things I altered were the order/repetition of small moments so that the clip told a specific story matching with the song, and as Voldemort raises his arms at the beginning, I changed the colour filter to be much warmer, fitting Voldemort’s message of ‘love’, not ‘war’.

Obama Video Remix

On the subject of video remixing-

I’m pretty lost for ideas at the moment so I’m looking around already created video remixes for inspiration. I was reminded of the video below. This will forever be one of my favourite things.

If you are interested, there’s an entire series of these ‘Obama Songs’ available on youtube.