For the final short assignment did my own (arguably provocative) piece of subtle neo-liberal propaganda. I decided to do a remix of corporate advertisements and a clip from a Hollywood blockbuster. I did a mosaic animation which reassembles a short speech from the scene which the clip captures. Each piece of the mosaic is either an image of a corporate advert or a corporate logo. As assembled in the film, the pictures form a bigger image. The bigger image re-enacts the famous speech of Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987). I am aware that the theme of the film are stock brokers not corporations, but I thought the speech still fits the purposes of my film. The animation is very brief (around 20 seconds) due to the long process of editing and image computing. I will further describe the animation method I used and relate my film to the theoretical works done in this field. However, I am aware that my method is probably not the most efficient way to produce this kind of animation. I was not able to find a tool in any movie editing software which would directly turn video material into an image mosaic. I had to use few programs to get the effect that I wanted. I would appreciate any feedback on my method or any proposals for a more efficient way to get the same effect.
My main inspiration for that project were the arguments of the Critical Art Ensemble about the power relations and new media. CAE purposes that the physicality of power no longer exists in modern times. Power negotiations are now held in ‘cyberspace’. Power is mediated through spectacle, which on its hand is controlled by corporations and authorities. The advertisements, the brand logos and names - all the imagery which people encounter in their everyday life is to a high degree a product of organizations with capitalist motivations or organizations of authority. According to CAE a way to rebel against this domination is to somehow interact with the media we receive – remake it in our own view, produce the meanings we intend to communicate. This was my motivation to use corporate art in combination with Hollywood film footage in attempt to revolt against the dominant media stream. As CAE purposes, I produced a piece which would have more of ‘me and my (arguably correct and important) view of the world’ in it by remixing. However, I do not fully support CAE’s idea that cyber rebellion should necessarily be anonymous, even though anonymity is one of the main features of web revolution.
As for how exactly did I made it – I first downloaded the original of the clip with the speech which I wanted re-enacted with the mosaic and a program which turns images into photo mosaics. I also found some software which turns video material into frame images in jpg format. I set it to separate all frames (about 600 for the 20 second piece I used). I then created a database of images that would be used as parts of the mosaic. I used Google Images, but as you can download only one image at a time, and Google are intentionally not setting an option for multiple downloads, I needed to get a program to do that for me. I ended up with a database of around 3000 images of logos and other corporate art to be used as the pieces of my mosaic animation. Next step was turning every single one of the 600 frame images I got from the movie clip into picture mosaics using the software I downloaded earlier and the image database I created. I could have got better quality of the final mosaic image if I expanded the mosaic field, but that way the advertisements would have been barely visible. I decided to go with a mosaic of 1000 pieces, as this seemed to me as point with optimal visibility for all images appearing. After the computation of the 600 mosaics was done I stitched them together in an animation using popular movie editing software. I also cut the soundtrack of the original clip and fitted it in my animation to fully complete my remix.
Random Disclaimer: All video materials and software (including OS) used for the creation of this film are unscrupulously pirated. Long live the internet.