This is a piece I directed for the NIMA COLLECTIVE earlier in the year. We have been experimenting with projectors quite a bit.
My guaranteed offer to you if you peruse this:
Headphones + Phone Notifications Turned Off + A Nice Place to Sit + 10minutes = A Meditative State Infused with a Skewed Conception of Time.
This is the first video & probably the only one to accompany the MEAT ON YOUR LONELY BONEZ EP.
The footage is the first reconceptualization of the DROPS IN YOUR STREAM single channel video experiment I ran from Oct-Dec 2014, sans one day. The goal is to have it show up in a few different media.
If you enjoy this video, please comment and subscribe to the all the MIRS Youtube Channel. We are working on a new track at the moment, which will go live with a video as well.
Onwards, upwards & forwards friends,
It's hard to believe that Youtube is not even a decade old. It seems to have been with us from the beginning.
What is more astonishing is that Youtube stars are more popular with teens than even the biggest top down celebrities as this Variety Survey documents. Poor ol Leo sitting in last place.
Now, these are the biggest of the big, but Youtube works in more lateral ways, and in smaller and smaller tribes, who remain vibrant and relevant. But this relevancy is different than what we were conditioned to understand. As Kevin Kelley described in his now famous (and in internet terms, dated) manifesto, "1,000 True Fans", relevancy is really only important to the people who care.
And you don't need too many people to care about what you bring to the table, as long as you're bringing something to that proverbial table in the first place. As Seth Godin would state, something REMARKABLE. Now, remember, remarkable is a shifting phrase. Pewdiepie is not remarkable to baby boomers, but he sure is too millions of teens. And that's the damn point.
So, this gets to my original thought. Back in 2007, while I was going through the ringer of an MFA program at this place, me and my pals (pretty much the whole class of fairly bright kids), all kind of shrugged our collective shoulders about using this new platform to reach out.
In the world of the higher arts, it was prestige less, a self publishing platform for people who couldn't find support in the business. A bunch of self absorbed people talking about non-important things, or terribly produced home videos with nothing to offer.
What a fucking absolutely rubbish thought that was! And that's the difference between leaping fearlessly forward, or sticking to the status quo. You rather jump, watch somebody else jump, or sit on the sidelines watching other people take initiative and change the world.
So, here is a lesson for anybody reading this. Nothing is sacred in the arts or business, and all empires fall sooner or later (much sooner now). So, when an opportunity(really an obligation) presents itself, jump of that cliff and maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. But it's much cooler to be an explorer than a hesitant wimp. And Youtube won't last forever either. In fact, on the internet clock, it's running out of time, while a host of new platforms are springing up left and right. Are you experimenting, or rolling your eyes again? It's a choice.
So, cheers to a great 2015!
I'm on day 13 of my single channel video work, DROPS IN THE STREAM. My web-host Squarespace is helping to trouble shoot a minor glitch in the page that I'm hosting my project on. It seems that the videos sometimes skip ahead or move around at odd times. The easiest fix so far is to go back to the previous video that skipped ahead, and play it again. However, it should be resolved shortly.
But, aside from this little UI blip, and the fact that a Youtube Channel and Playlist exist for it without any glitches(along with Tumblr), I am excited about its strange development. We got a long way towards our Dec 31st completion, so please subscribe here, or bookmark here.
The original post with the only hint of info can be found here:
I've been sitting on a couple pieces from yesteryear never really sure what to do with them anymore. Two video pieces in particular have stood in the vault since their premieres, both with context specific deliveries.
One particular piece, 2006's ASTONISHING EXPERIENCE BOX SET was a video installation that had its run at the Seed Gallery space in Santa Ana, California, and after, was boxed away indefinitely. Only one DVD was made at the time (as was the plan), and was bid on, but me being overtly idealist at the time, refused to sell. The money wasn't that great anyways, if i remember correctly.
Now, a good many years have passed, and, in due course, the source materials been transferred into digital binary, making it's indefinite disappearance kind of disingenuous these days. My thinking is that, yes, it's stripped of its context in a pure sense, and with that, what kind of a video installation is it, when the installation is gone? And the simple answer is, a video of course. Here below is the description, and some instructions into how to make it work. Or, just press play. I provided some context on its original form below.
Installation Premiere: 10-7-2006
Online Premiere: 9-19-14
Instructions: Headphones and a dark room preferable. In fact, a pseudo living room would be best (of course, I can't force you to do anything in a virtual space).
On Oct 7, 2006, the Astonishing Experience Box Set installation premiered at the Seed Gallery at the artist village in Santa Ana California. The show ran from Oct 7 - Dec 2, 2006. The show was billed as "Light. Shadow and Motion: exploring the way light alter our environments".
The installation included an old television, a dvd player, optional headphones, a chair, and a faux living room setup. In some ways, similar to the old Maxell tape commercials, although the living space was more archaic. On the television, the Astonishing Experience Box Set played as a loop.
This was the only time that this particular installation was made available to the public, and the DVD that hosts the Astonishing Experience Box Set was never played again. The total run time of the video from start to finish was 6:52, and was broken up into 6 distinct experiences. But, in direct conflict with the installation setup, there was no restriction to the viewing of the the video in linear terms, and the option of sound (headphones) was the direct responsibility of the viewer.
Here is the visual representation for the MIRS track SUMMER GOD COMPLEX. This video is a digital deconstruction of footage that originated from an infamous, lonely and appalling source.
That source was also the lead-in into the writing process, although it was just a jumping point, a kernel of story that evolved into something else.
The deconstruction of the source footage also plays into an internal, corrupt mind grasping at order, and at times seeing beauty in it's own destruction. The process involved the breaking down of codecs.
Here it is, the first exclusive clip from a major motion picture event! ANIMALS presents YOUNG BUCK. In internet speak, #youngbuck
The question of relevancy is always an important one when the arts, cinema or any cultural element is discussed, thought about, and perused towards some end.
We can always put our heads down and slog through the terrain, to do what we love without ever needing to be self aware of our place, or our goals, both collectively and individually. But, that's a simple pursuit. Valid as any, but, shallow in scope.
Instead, and often, we think deep and long about our place in the world. And, as the world changes in rapid succession, in a culture that Alan Moore deemed "The Culture of Steam", when discussing the immediate future, certain trends emerge. And to clarify, I believe Moore was discussing the ungraspable future culture, as predetermined by technology and its interplay with our old world evolution.
This is the time of the instant update. And, you can look no further than the emerging talent of today to really understand what this means. In music, the perpetual mixtape was the start, but the further you push that along, the more you get to the current state. Just like instagram, music has also morphed into the weekly song/video style most prominent in hip hop. I like to use hip-hop as the example, because it's elements are very immediate. It's production, usually fast, and wordplay doesn't necessarily need to be written.
Acts like Lil B and Riff Raff elude to a changing landscape where they are always on the cycle of relevance, because, they mimic the culture of the internet itself. They are both shrewd, entertaining and showman promoters. They are a new species of music artist. Self aware, skilled, entrepreneurial, shameless and momentum oriented. And regardless of what you think of them, they continue turning critics into fans, by sheer willingness to be out there, to take the brunt of "haters".
In an alternative way, if Riff Raff put out a few videos, and waited for something to happen, nothing ever would. This is a critical difference between the old and the new. The closest example in the film world would be someone like Joe Swanberg. But perhaps, there are countless other "video" artist who are better examples whom I just don't know. Tim and Eric immediately came to mind as the television version, but the metaphor is not as clear. Adult Swim nurtures these changes, and was willing to take those risks years ago. In the world of books/blogging, look no further then Seth Godin.
In a disposable age, perfectionism isn’t valued because we just don’t have time for it. By the time it’s perfect, the world moved 10 steps ahead. I know, your ol school idealism doesn’t want to deal with it. Whatever.
The question is, in this new landscape, what if you turned it off. What if your video didn't come out on that Wednesday, or that you stopped your twitter'ing and vine'ing and facebook. What if you get sick? What if you don’t make three films a year? And what if, you weren’t birthed into a career before this all happened? You know, in the old timey days (pre 2005) when things work different?
The constant hustle and digital sharecropping reminds me of Jaron Lanier's critique of the internet and the middle class. You can hustle on that street corner all you want, but, when you get sick, well, you're fucked. But, at least you’re relevant. :) (smiley face)
After watching a recent Hollywood film lauded as one of the great achievements of the year (the year would be last), I did what I do when I can't seem to figure out the hype from the fact. At the very least, my facts against mediocrity.
So, I turned into some reviews to hear the voice of the critic. Now, I only do this after the movie. Mostly, just to gauge the critical zeitgeist and maybe to pick up on points that I neglected, or tuned out possibly due to bias. In fact, often, I want to be proved wrong. I want to be moved to believe that the movie was a masterpiece and I was just being an asshole, or plainly, ignorant.
So, after flipping through a couple of these eloquent reviews, one phrase stood out from the rest, breathing fire into the cultural void of existence. "Gritty handheld style" was this very phrase.
Everytime I read something so asinine, I want to stop and call out to my maker. But the fact that this was repeated in no less then 5 reviews in back to back succession makes me think, that sometimes, people are in a haze of automation, devoid of anything critical, analytical, or imaginative.
Gritty handheld style in this particular case was nothing at all gritty. What the fuck does this describe? Realism? Well, in this particular case, not at all. Does it describe fortitude or determination. No. 50 million dollars with the best technical minds around making fiction never ever fucking equates to GRITTY. Ever. (well, actually, there are a couple cases historically. this is not one. and I'm assuming, the budget never crossed the 25million mark)
What it does describe however, is that all these clowns picked up the same description from wherever the hell, like 10 years ago, and decided to use it again, and again, and again, and thus removing any descriptive quality about it, in favor of press releasing a review. In today's language, this just fucking blows.
I call for an indefinite ban, and personal banishment for any hee-haw that uses the phrase, "gritty handheld style" to describe anything related to a film. They can however, use it to describe their latest iphone video of there cat licking its nuts. As long as the phone is not locked down on a tripod, and that it is in fact, gritty by definition.
True POV camera work is a relative staple in video games. These games, often of the FPS (first person shooter) variety, imply a world as scene by the lead character, which by way of controller, is you, the player.
Similar to the field of vision of humans, we see exactly as the character does. Some other information might be provided by the GUI (such as maps, weapons, etc), but essentially, you see the world through your eyes.
Movies have used POV shoots as a supplementary technique for many years. But, whereas it was a very difficult thing to achieve in Orson Welles world, it is easier to do in Gasper Noe's time. The gear has gotten smaller. The apparatus has changed.
In video games set pieces, we can move from a wide, to a follow, straight to a POV all in one movement.
This camera flexibility and movement is the new norm in most Hollywood films. In essence, the building of shot structure in a movie like BATMAN is rendered first in a computer. It borrows heavily from video games. But, a real world camera with real world actors can never be as flexible as the camera in a computer world.
Now, here in lies a thought. If, after all these years video games tried to be more like movies, what happens when movies try to be more like video games?
What happens when the story lines, graphics, writing gets as good or better than the movie version? I'm sure many kids will argue that it already has.
So, what now? Its telling to note that the cost of the top tier tentpole video games cost as much or more then tentpole Hollywood films.
At some point, the kids will stick to a world where there POV is in control, with options and feedback that a passive form like Hollywood movies cannot provide. 2 hours of passive entertainment versus 60+ hours of active entertainment. You can argue that they are two different things, but, when both try to emulate one another, it becomes very hard to differentiate.
We need to get out of the passive. We need to trust our audience a little more. The short term gains from the sequel syndrome will have huge consequences in a few years.
Video is the new mainstream form. I've been saying it for a few years now, but as it's producers have gotten more savvy with technology and techniques, they can mimic, but more importantly, innovative trends and styles in the visual medium at a hyper kinetic pace. This is why individual music video directors are not as sought out as before. Because, anybody with some visual map can do it. And they are. In droves. You get the good and the bad, but, you get it all. And fast. And new, and fresh. TV anyone?
That in lies the huge challenge for Hollywood and feature films in general (especially ones that really on novelty and gimmicks). The human appetite for novelty knows no bounds. And video quenches that thirst weekly, for 1/100th of the price. Plus, for its consumers, hell, it's free.
That's why, in some weird essence, a movie like SPRING BREAKERS competes with RiFF RAFF and his once a week music videos (the man who I believe is the genesis of the film, even if it be subconscious). RiFF RAFF has been around for a few years, doing videos which are in the same spirit of the feature film. For people familiar with his work, the movie feels tedious and outdated.
Of course, I'm exaggerating to make some point. But, we cannot turn a blind eye to this phenomenon. It exists. Just today, I watched a well made, action POV music video that is buzzing the net. Comments include, "best thing I've ever seen", or "hollywood can never touch this". Of course, this happens almost weekly and is a by product of internet hyper hyperbole. And, once the surface of the video is scratched, the novelty wears off quick. But, the savvy generation has seen it, internalized it and moved on.
You can no doubt see that this is where the wellspring of ideas originate these days. And, by the time Hollywood or some indie director rips it off and places the same scene in a larger context, it's already old news for the next generation. They've seen it, experienced it, and moved on to about 20 other new things. This generation doesn't place the same importance on scale as they did before. In the game of originality, who done it first is as important as who done it better.
For feature films to keep a footing in its proper place, it must rely on it's core strengths, that of unique storytelling, expression and originality no matter how difficult. The rerun, sequel game is not a long term strategy. If it is, ruin is almost guaranteed. Once the nerds turn away because there favorite comic book video game is better than the movie, well, then what? You don't think that's going to happen?
Long form films must also adapt to a faster distribution strategy. One that keeps it fresh in a market that changes faster than a blink of an eye. Certainly not an easy task.
After going underground for a little bit of time, about to come up to the surface. We are putting together an incredible slate of projects that will be the talk of the town. Are you ready for the future?
Presenting: An ANIMALS Christmas Special in Ultra Technicolor 2D!
The story for this evening revolves around one man in for the fight of his life.
Suspense, drama, anticipation, a cat!
concept + video: Amir Motlagh
produced by ANIMALS
words: Amir Motlagh / Sean Gillane
titles: Sean Gillane
© Dec 2012
Music was a performance of Richard Wagner's Die Walkure (The Valkyries)
performed by The United States Marine Band. It is available under Public Domain.