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Oops (remixed YouTube videos) [Oct. 28th, 2010|11:01 am]
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Chris Beckman
oops, 2009
digital video art
concept by Billy Rennekamp

Somewhere between a home-video mixtape and a postmodern travelogue, "oops"—a ten-minute art video composed entirely of appropriated YouTube videos, seamlessly stitched together via a motif of camera drops—serves both as transportative adventure and metaphorical elucidation of YouTube itself (i.e. endless related videos), exemplifying the Internet's infinite repository of "throwaway" social documentation. From suburbia to subterranea, the radically shuffling environs induce a vertiginous yet aesthetically contextual thread—a transcendent, reincarnating POV; our omnipresent Camera—by which, the nature of the ultra-verité videos, eschewing any filmic grounding, plunges the viewer into a relationship of fleeting immediacy w/ its many videographers: a self-portrait at arms length, the digital blur of an obscuring thumb, a disembodied narrating voice. This abstractly voyeuristic portrayal of an ever-filming generation (who won't let the transcendence of being in A Moment inhibit their document-everything impulse) presages a future where every instant of our existence, from the mundane to the sublime, is preserved and catalogued for all to see.
 

oops from Chris Beckman on Vimeo.

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The men cried out, the girls cried out [Oct. 21st, 2010|10:36 am]
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Am I imagining things, or did someone vid Legend of the Seeker to Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Heads Will Roll"? I could swear I've seen a vid to that song, and my best guess for the fandom is LotS (though I suppose Highlander would be the most obvious fit for the lyrics), but I can't find it. 

ETA: [personal profile] par_avion  pointed me to the vid I was trying to remember, kiki_miserychic's amazing Misfits vid This entry is cross-posted to http://crypto.dreamwidth.org/107587.html (comment count unavailable comments there)
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It's back! [Oct. 18th, 2010|06:24 pm]
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By 'it' I of course mean the Dutch version of So You Think You Can Dance, and by 'back' I mean 'awesome!'

They've had their first two live shows, and as expected the quality of the dancing and the choreography varies, but it's still very fun to watch. I ended up dropping the current season of the Canadian version due to extreme boredom and my failure to recognize any of the dancers from one week to the next. With the Dutch version, I'd already gotten invested in several dancers after only seeing this year's final audition/boot camp episode, and I can remember who's who even when I can't remember how to spell their names (or understand why 'Caggie' is apparently pronounced the same as 'Chuckie').

They did something very cool that I can't link to because I'm on the train and Amtrak blocks YouTube, but if you're curious do a search for 'Don Diablo Animale' or I'll come back and edit the link in later. Basically, the group dance last week was set to electro-ish DJ Don Diablo's forthcoming song, and then was turned into a promo music video that looks really good.

Huh, this is ridiculously unpersuasive -- here's my first post reccing SYTYCD Netherlands, and if you check back on my SYTYCD you'll hopefully find videos of past routines. It's basically the most hip hop of all the SYTYCD versions I've seen, with adorable male/female co-hosts who look very MTVish. Plus Euvgenia is back as a judge! And this week during rehearsals there were three separate incidents of choreographers making dancers cry through their tough love! Also the audience tosses stuffed animals on stage for their favorite dancers at the end of their performances!
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Links roundup linked [Aug. 20th, 2010|12:23 pm]
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Fresh from Symposium Blog: Fans, geeks, wrestlers, and Sherlock Holmes: links roundup.

Also new: Karen Hellekson, co-editor of OTW's Transformative Works & Cultures online journal, on Breaking the primacy of print.


Has anyone been watching the new season of SYTYCD Canada? Apparently there are four episodes out already. After the fiasco of the most recent U.S. season, and the cancellation of the Australia version, I'm just not sure I'm ready to plunge into yet another cycle so soon.

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Observations [Aug. 17th, 2010|01:22 pm]
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Tuesdays feel so empty now that there's no new Pretty Little Liars to look forward to until, what, January maybe? I'm almost tempted to read the book series that it's based on, just to find out what happens next, but I think that would probably be a bad idea. Better plan: buy an external hard drive and start making my silly little vid for the show.

This would be a good time to catch up on TV that I'm behind on. My choices are: the second half of the most recent season of Damages, the second season of Sons of Anarchy, the third (and fourth?) season of Skins, and the third and fourth seasons of Friday Night Lights. My decision would be much easier if any of the above featured killer robots....

I can't decide if I like the new season of Jersey Shore. To be honest, the first season started losing me after the initial four episodes, but then the finale pulled me back in. I do still like the overall look of the show and the ridiculous opening credits.

I haven't come close to watching all the new vids from VividCon yet, but I have seen tons of excellent ones. Today's rec: [personal profile] luminosity 's gorgeous, haunting Last Year at Marienbad vid Caged Bird.

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Mad Men and Aca-Fen [Aug. 16th, 2010|05:47 pm]
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My new Symposium Blog post is up -- no Mad Men spoilers, I promise! Especially since I'm already two episodes behind!

Thanks for everyone's responses to my question about posting vids on YouTube last week -- I'd still like to writing something up about that, but I'm waiting to track down notes from this year's Vidding & Visibility Town Hall at VividCon.

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Cross-posted to fandomapologyfinders [Aug. 13th, 2010|03:32 pm]
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Hi, I'm looking for an apology that was when somebody was accused of plagiarizing some fics. I think the plagiarized fics were all from The Sentinel fandom, but the plagiarizer turned them into Sherlock Holmes with the names and some of the details changed. It wasn't that long ago, but I can't find the apology in my delicious bookmarks. Can anybody help? I remember that people said it was an okay apology, until somebody got mad in the comments about the OP using a sarcastic icon which made it a fauxpology.

Thanks!

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Dear Vidders: Why not YouTube? [Aug. 10th, 2010|11:05 am]
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I'm considering writing a post about vidding for Symposium Blog this week in honor of VividCon, so I thought I'd toss out a question:

As I'm eagerly devouring all the new vids that are coming out, I can't help but notice that for vidders who post streaming versions of their vids, most aren't hosted on YouTube. I see stuff on various Ning vid communities, Vimeo, a couple others, and occasionally self-hosted, but YouTube seems pretty rare, at least as a first choice for streaming vids.

So here's my question -- why not YouTube?

Is it because of:

Video quality?
Advertising?
Concerns re: greater vulnerability to takedown notices from copyright holders?
Privacy/obscurity (e.g. having some control over the audience that sees your vids, rather than anybody potentially stumbling across them)?
Something else?

I'm curious! And also hoping to use responses as fodder for a blog post -- if I get enough answers to write something up, I'll link back to this post but quote from comments w/out names ["one vidder said, 'YouTube killed my parents!'"] unless you explicitly give me permission to use your name. And of course you can also comment anonymously, or ask me to screen your comment.

Thanks!
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Vid rec: Appleseed - The Last Firstborn by dragonchic [Aug. 7th, 2010|08:07 pm]
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dragonchic made my favorite vid from last year's Club Vivid with Wanted - Break Teen Spirit in Four Minutes, and she's made another amazing vid this year with Appleseed - The Last Firstborn.

(I haven't seen Appleseed and this vid makes me want to; it also makes me want to see dragonchic vid Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex a lot)

I can just tell this will be my new "rewatch in the morning right before going to work" vid. This entry is cross-posted to http://crypto.dreamwidth.org/105457.html (comment count unavailable comments there)
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Audience empathy and dislike in Mad Men [Jul. 29th, 2010|02:16 pm]
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Jason Mittell, "On Disliking Mad Men":

The missing ingredient from Draper and nearly all of Mad Men‘s characters is empathy, as virtually nobody’s behavior or situation invites me to place myself in their shoes. Instead, I watch the characters from an emotional remove that makes them appear as pieces in a mannered dance rather than fully realized people to care about. This might be the ultimate answer to the core appeal of serial drama, as without empathy toward the characters, viewers lack the emotional connection to sustain the commitment of weeks, months, and years that a successful series demands. Even though their actions are reprehensible, I feel empathy toward [Tony] Soprano, [Walter] White, [Dexter] Morgan, [Vic] Mackey, and [Al] Swearingen, understanding their acts in the context of their lives and situations. Draper’s blank slate doesn’t leave me with more than just the sense of him being a “cold bastard” as his core. And I translate this lack of empathy to how the show’s creators seem to regard their characters – while Al Swearingen might be a bastard, I always feel that creator David Milch loves the guy. While I know it’s my own projection rather than any authentic access to authorial intent, I can’t help but feel that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner ultimately feels contempt toward Draper and the rest, fueling the emotional gap that keeps me from warming to the show.

In the end, watching Mad Men leaves me feeling unclean and unpleasant, having spent time in an unenjoyable place with people I don’t care about, and coming out smelling of stale cigarettes. The gloss and sheen is meant to charm me, but instead it masks something hollow, dark and cancerous. For people who like the show, this resonance is affecting and provocative, but for me, it feels like one of Don Draper’s callow ad pitches. None of the emotional arcs of the characters feel real or earned – instead I’m being sold the illusion of drama rather than honest drama itself, much like the packaging of nostalgia and memory in a Kodak slide projector. Enough people whom I respect feel quite differently, so I know it’s not because the show is a failure per se, but clearly there is a short circuit for me and presumably others, disengaging me from the show on its own terms and failing to create sufficient empathy to go along for the narrative ride that I want to enjoy....

It's funny; I was thinking this week, as I've been frantically marathoning season 3 of Mad Men to catch up and watch the current season as it airs, how odd it was to belatedly find myself empathizing with Don Draper. And yet I did, just as I've sporadically empathized with various other characters on the show at different times. But that empathic response isn't really the primary thing I seek out in television; especially with a self-consciously "quality" TV show like Mad Men, I'm looking for interestingness. I'm quite happy to get engaging characters with dilemmas and predicaments that I haven't experienced and can't relate to, leading lives that don't resemble mine (nor would I want them to). Those fleeting moments of recognition, identification, empathy -- if the characters are drawn and acted well enough, they'll inevitably come, but they're not necessarily the main event or precondition for my enjoyment.

Though I think I've been watching Mad Men as a modern tragedy crossed with more than a dash of A Doll's House, which might not ultimately turn out to be the best reading.

ETA: Ian Bogost, Against Aca-Fandom: On Jason Mittell on Mad Men

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Halfway through tonight's Pretty Little Liars (no spoilers) [Jul. 27th, 2010|11:21 pm]
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 You can tell that the writers enjoy working on this show. Sure, a lot of the dialogue is trite and clichéd, but they keep throwing in these clever, artful moments and you can almost feel the writerly hand behind them. And after tonight, I'm thinking that at least one of the writers is a fan of The Great Gatsby.

I just love this show! This entry is cross-posted to http://crypto.dreamwidth.org/104530.html (comment count unavailable comments there)
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Suuuundaay! [Jul. 25th, 2010|08:23 pm]
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Hallyu in aisle 3: I went to Whole Foods today, and my cashier and the two next to him started singing Nobody by the Wonder Girls and then debating how many members were in the group. I was so stunned that I couldn't say anything! I know they recently did a U.S. tour, but are they being played on the radio now or something? Is k-pop the latest hipster fad? Or is it just something about my branch of Whole Foods (I swear another cashier there looks like she could be Janelle Monáe's little sister who ran off to start her own punk/ska band...)?

I was very satisfied with the finale of MasterChef Australia, except for the part where the season is over. Everyone involved with the show, from the contestants to the hosts/judges to the celebrity chefs, was basically adorable. But I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be watching MasterChef Australia Junior with 8-12 year olds cooking off. Still, it was such an enjoyable reality TV show, especially in contrast to the current disastrous U.S. season of SYTYCD.

Oops, I forgot to catch up on season 3 of Mad Men -- I'd really had the best of intentions to watch this season as it aired. How bad would it be viz. spoilers  if I watched the season premiere tonight before going back to watch last season?

I really think Joss Whedon's Avengers movie is going to be terrible, but that's probably because I loathed the second Iron Man movie. Bendis schmendis, I think the whole Avengers mythos has gotten pretty bankrupt creatively. This entry is cross-posted to http://crypto.dreamwidth.org/104213.html (comment count unavailable comments there)
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What's with the fucking chicken? [Jul. 22nd, 2010|03:29 pm]
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The first part of my hard-hitting investigative report series on anon culture in fandom is now up on Symposium blog.

Yes, I said first part of a series. *sigh* It was getting too long, so I decided to break it up into five themes:

Distraction economy
Counter-public sphere
Communal confessions
Burden of identity
Wrong on the internet

To be continued....

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Fannish to-do list [Jul. 20th, 2010|01:54 pm]
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1. Figure out who I'm rooting for on MasterChef Australia now that Marion's been eliminated (probably Adam? though I don't know yet who got eliminated on Tuesday's episode)

2. Keep counting down the hours until tonight's Pretty Little Liars after last week's amazing (and very viddable!) cliffhanger

3. Find someone to talk me out of using "Like 4chan for girls" (source) as the title of my Symposium blog post on anon culture in fandom

3b. Figure out if I even have, like, a thesis or a point or anything useful to say for said blog post

4. OMG only 6 more hours until Pretty Little Liars! (Hint: that's enough time to catch up on the first six episodes if you haven't been watching)

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Anon culture in fandom [Jul. 18th, 2010|04:13 pm]
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So I'm working on my next post for the Symposium blog and I'd like to write about anonymity in fandom. But I need your help!

I've been following the latest anon meme that sprung out of the ViVidCon debates (is there some kind of Fight Club thing where you're not supposed to link to it? or actually name it? I'm going to err on the side of caution here, but let me know if there are standard anon meme rules or norms I should be observing), and it's been pretty fascinating to see the different dynamics of how discussions play out there vs. on LJ/DW. I've checked out a few other anon memes in the past, but this is the longest I've ever followed one. Yet I haven't left any comments on the meme, so I can't claim to be a participant-observer -- there's something about posting anon that just weirds me out (personally, not when other people do it). I'm not sure what it is, but I definitely got weirded out the couple of times in the past that I posted on anon love memes where you tell people on the flist how awesome they are. Which, hey, people on my flist are awesome, and deserve to hear that! So I don't know what my mental block here is.

So I'd love to hear from any of you about the pleasures (and perils!) of posting anon, or participating in anon memes. I'm also thinking of saying something about kink memes, which are the other major place that I'm aware of that carve out a pro-anon space in fandom, and seem to be on the rise over the last couple of years. But I know even less about kink meme culture than anon memes! So any observations, insights, experiences you'd like to share about kink memes & anonymity would be welcome.

And I think I need a third thing, right? I figured I'd at least reference the WoW/Blizzard Real ID controversy, but it would be nice to have a third instance of anon culture in LJ/DW-based media fandom, if anyone has suggestions.

Anon posting for comments is on, naturally (ETA: and IP logging is off). Thanks in advance!

ETA 2: I've fallen way behind on responding to comments, but I'm reading them all & appreciate all the perspectives & experiences & context that everyone's offering.

ETA 3: The first part of my Symposium blog post on anon memes is now up.

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New blog, first post [Jul. 7th, 2010|09:08 pm]
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Hey, I just (finally!) made my first post to Symposium blog, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works' Transformative Works and Cultures journal. My co-blogger there is Dana Sterling, who's posted some good stuff about TWC's Supernatural-themed issue and the John Scalzi/Wil Wheaton fan fiction contest.

In my post, I look at fan cultures around MTV's The Hills, and suggest a mode of 'parasocial fandom' to complement what [personal profile] obsession_inc  and [personal profile] damned_colonial  have described as transformational fandom and affirmational fandom.

Okay, that makes my post sound pretty boring -- and it isn't, really! Probably? Anyways, check it out, and feel free to comment there if so moved.

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There's no kindness in your eyes [Jul. 7th, 2010|09:52 am]
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Hypothetically -- and I should stress very hypothetically, because with the heat lately I cannot imagine making a vid in my under-airconditioned apartment, but --

Good idea, bad idea, or worst idea: making a Pretty Little Liars vid to Hilary Duff's Stranger? (music video below the cut)

I mean, it wouldn't work with a straightforward/literal interpretation of the lyrics -- that's really more suited for, I don't know, something like a Smallville Lex/Lana vid or an AU/constructed reality SPN vid from Dean's POV where Sam's gone evil.

But still! It could work, right? And if I've accidentally got the song stuck in my head anyways, I might as well do something with it, right?

If you don't know the song:click for the music videoCollapse )
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Crypto watches television [Jul. 5th, 2010|10:58 am]
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The Gates: My expectations couldn't have been lower going in to this (trust me, I learned my lesson after the crushingly disappointing discovery that Vampire Diaries was actually not the second coming of Dark Shadows), and the show still failed to meet them. Here's hoping that in this decade following Twilight, we'll finally see the rise of the fangirl-auteur in Hollywood, because that sensibility is totally absent here where it's so desperately needed.

Stargate Universe: So I'd been meaning to sample this show at some point when I heard via fannish osmosis that there was a particularly strong episode. Except that I haven't heard anything -- I'm not sure whether anybody on my flist is even watching the show. Certainly I would have remembered if someone had posted about an episode directed by Ernest Dickerson non-plot spoilerCollapse )! But then kiki_miserychic made a gorgeous SGU vid, We Are All Connected, and that was more than enough to get me to check out the series. I'm still working my way through it, but I have to say that I like it. I was never a fan of SG-1 or SGA, so when SGU was announced, I had little confidence in the ability of the producers & writers to deliver on the premise. But so far they've done a pretty decent job -- though I do wish the female characters were more developed & central, and that they'd cast more people of color. Still, it's a solid show, with more of an ensemble (vs. team) approach and a Battlestar Galactica (minus the robots) tone, and Robert Carlyle does some great work that really elevates everything.

Pretty Little Liars: Once again I went in to this with low expectations (because honestly, when your starting point is Gossip Girl-meets-I Know What You Did Last Summer, you don't need to be an Ibsen to satisfy and entertain), but I'm very pleasantly surprised at how much I'm enjoying it so far. While the acting is largely nothing special, the plotting and pacing are more than competent, and the thriller elements balance out well with the high school drama. Plus, it's about as Bechdel test-friendly as television gets. Also bonus Laura Leighton!

So You Think You Can Dance: I still have some ambivalence about the format, and the judges are worse than they've ever been, but I'm enjoying this season more than any on the U.S. version of the show since season 4, so that's something.

Doctor Who: I MISS YOU! PLEASE COME BACK SOON!!!!
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Eleventy!!! [Jun. 25th, 2010|07:20 pm]
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In about 24 hours, give or take, I will have seen the Doctor Who finale! Unless of course a Sontaran invasion preempts the broadcast.... *crosses fingers*

That gives me time to marathon the first twelve episodes, especially if I don't go into the office tomorrow, which I really should do but hate doing after already working umpty-dozen hours this week.

How are you going to spend the remaining hours? I can't do a poll, but here are some options to select from:
spoilery for last week"s BBC airingCollapse )*trembles in anticipation*

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If there is a MasterChef Australia fandom, please don't point me to the fic [Jun. 23rd, 2010|10:11 pm]
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...and yet, after Wednesday's episode, I think I accidentally started shipping Marion/Callum. I mean, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure it counts as shipping when you're mentally shouting at the screen "Just kiss each other, already!" during their cab ride through Paris, despite them showing no particular signs of romantic interest or sexual chemistry towards each other?



I don't know. But I've definitely developed a weakness for Australian reality TV competitions, because the contestants always seem relatively guileless and innocent. At least compared to U.S. equivalents, where everyone's so comparatively poised and polished in front of the camera, as though part of U.S. culture is spending your life mentally readying yourself for your close-up. When I watched the first season of Australia's SYTYCD, I remember being consistently charmed and delighted as I kept thinking how wonderful it was to watch people who don't come onto a show already "knowing" how to present themselves for television audiences.

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