1. Created by J. Flynn on December 17, 2003 after watching the original 1929 Vertov film the night before (where there was some discussion about different soundtracks from the Michael Nyman version on the Kino Video release). The Soviet avant garde film is referenced often in media studies classes that use Lev Manovich's "The Language of New Media" (2001) as a textbook. This book in turn uses "Man With a Movie Camera" as its "guide" and calls the film "perhaps the most important example of a database imagination in modern media art".

    http://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/titles/content/9780262632553_sch_0001.pdf

    The mashup with Radiohead's "Kid A" (2000) was edited together the following day (December 18) at what is now known as the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (Simon Fraser University, Surrey campus). The copy uploaded here to Vimeo is the original version made from an analog DVD transfer, which was then assembled with music. exported to a DV file, and burned back to a DVD-R. It led to a highly experimental (and non-commercial) academic work that was submitted and accepted as part of a related 2006 Master of Applied Science thesis project, "Travels in Intertextuality: the autopoetic identity of remix culture".

    Titled "Kid A With Movie Camera", this work helped to demonstrate the difference between a remix and a mashup in the digital context of contemporary media. It uses a completely unedited copy of Dziga Vertov's 1929 silent film masterwork "Man With a Movie Camera" mashed together with Radiohead's greatest work (!), the 2000 opus "Kid A". In contrast to this mashup element, the remainder of the film remixes selected tracks from Radiohead's 2001 followup "Amnesiac". These building blocks of digital culture are therefore arranged in such a way that, as a whole, new value was created from works that already held value on their own.

    As this work was created and published before YouTube's existence, it had basically remained stored in an archive drive until the 15th anniversary of Kid A's release on October 1st, 2015. "Kid A With Movie Camera" would lead to an interactive DVD title for the MaSc project that allowed users to alternate between three different angles, specifically, Vertov's "Man with a Movie Camera" and his earlier work "Kino Eye" (1924), as well as Sergei Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin" (1925). Meanwhile, users could also navigate between the original soundtracks, the Radiohead mashup, as well as another experimental one featuring Leonard Cohen's "Field Commander Cohen" (2001). In this way, "Kid A With Movie Camera" became a building block for a larger intertextual work contained within the constraints of a single interactive DVD-R.

    A followup set of Radiohead + silent film mashups were subsequently produced in January 2004 using Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927) with "OK Computer" (1997) and "Hail to the Thief" (2003), as well as Robert Wiene's "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920) with "Pablo Honey" (1993) and "The Bends" (1995). A final addition to the remix/mashup collection came in 2011 by combining what was essentially a silent film, John Parker's expressionist film noir "Dementia" (1955), with the most recent Radiohead albums, "In Rainbows" (2007) and "The King of Limbs" (2011). These works will also be published to Vimeo.

    Please note that the "author-supervisor" of these experiments makes no copyright claims to any of the underlying works, but merely offers their mashup and remixed versions as points of cultural discourse for the digital age. -jf

    ***Steven Soderberg did something similar for a film class demonstration to highlight staging in the 1983 film "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Well worth checking out here: http://extension765.com/sdr/18-raiders

    # vimeo.com/141496596 Uploaded 499 Plays 0 Comments
  2. This is one of the companion pieces to the original Radiohead + silent film mashup, 2003's "Kid A With Movie Camera". Why another mashup? Why not? That's kind of how they work, if they work, that is.

    Like the "Kid A" + silent film mashup, this work is also now over ten years old and just based on memory I guess I decided to check out more old films from the library. I'm sure I had the idea to watch Metropolis from hearing the line "In a city of the future, it is difficult to concentrate" in my favorite Radiohead b-side, "Palo Alto". So about a month into teaching and grad studies in the Spring 2004 term, I grabbed the only available copy of Metropolis in the library, put it in the DVD player, and pressed play on Radiohead's 1998 EP "Airbag / How Am I Driving"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbag_/_How_Am_I_Driving%3F

    And yeah, that seemed to work out! So then I added the rest of "OK Computer" (1997), which is an album some may argue is even better than 2000's "Kid A", but we'll leave that debate alone for now. The interesting thing with this remix vs. a simple mashup is that both the EP and "OK Computer" begin with the song "Airbag", so it fit nicely in bringing "Paranoid Android" back in to follow the song "Palo Alto" (which, incidentally, was originally titled "OK Computer").

    Speaking of "Paranoid Android", strangely, much of the film's plot centers on an out-of-control android designed to incite violence in the working class. Why? So that the "Master of Metropolis" can use it as an excuse to squash the uprising while keeping the bourgeoisie in the city up above and the workers down below. Interesting how, ten years later, these themes have become even more pronounced with the "Occupy Wall Street" movements and the backlash around "1%", not to mention the tension the tech (computer) industry has boiled up in Bay Area cities such as Palo Alto. I'm sure someone is already writing a dissertation on Metropolis regarding these themes.

    But getting back to the mashup/remix and the technologies and media at hand at the time – i.e. January 30, 2004 – there's a couple of interest notes to factor in. First off, the only available copy of Metropolis was the 1998 Hollywood Classics version, which is a poor transfer compared to the more recent Kino Video re-releases. A Kino Video restoration was first released in 2002, then another "complete" restored version in 2010 after more missing footage was discovered. Compared to these restorations, the 1998 version really suffers, as reviewed here:

    http://www.tower.com/metropolis-brigitte-helm-dvd/wapi/107045053

    Unfortunately, when I eventually did get a copy of the restored 2002 version, the extra footage that was added threw off many of the interesting timings and rhythms with Radiohead's music. The long, drawn out establishing shots, as well as the implied and actual intertitled dialog just didn't seem to work as well. And since I didn't have to do a re-edit of the version that DID work with the much cleaner restored version (which was feasible using a video editing suite), I just left the mashup/remix as is.

    The other matter of note is that after all the "OK Computer" and b-side material was used up, there was still quite a bit of film to deal with. So I added a number of song's from Radiohead's 2003 album "Hail to the Thief". These songs also worked out quite well. So where are they in this video? Due to a technological constraint at the time, they're in Part 2. As it happened, I was using iDVD to create disc-based versions of these mashup/remixes, and in early 2004 there was a one-hour limit on the amount of video content you could burn to a DVD-R via iDVD. Since I didn't have the compression and burning abilities of DVD Studio Pro at that point, I had to split the Metropolis mashup into two pieces.

    It might actually be better that way, though I would fade the whole credit sequence out. It was more just playing around in Final Cut at the time, but whatever. NOTE: I used another "OK Computer" b-side called "Lull" for the credits (and for the intro to the second disc). Unfortunately I don't have a full quality version of Part 2 at this time, only an iPod copy. But I'll keep looking and upload it when able.

    # vimeo.com/141755639 Uploaded 303 Plays 0 Comments
  3. Experimental mashup/remix of Tool's 1996 album "Ænima", 2001's "Lateralus", and the song "Opiate" off their debut. The video is a straight no edit digital transfer of Leni Reifenstahl's "Triumph of the Will". It's a window into disturbing times.

    At the point of defending my thesis in March of 2006, I had the three Radiohead mashup/remixes included as part of the project. These used music from all seven of their album releases to that point, as well as some b-sides. Since there were no more Radiohead albums to make use of, I figured that was it for such experiments. However, while teaching some courses in the summer, a couple more non-Radiohead mashups came about.

    Very little work was put into either, since I wasn't going to publish anything around them, they were really just a couple "let's see..." examples. Instead of the old analog transfer to FCP that I did on the previous Radiohead + silent experiments in 2003 and 2004, there was now easy-to-use DVD conversion software available to create video files to work throw some audio against and see what sticks.

    The bigger issue was inspiration. At that point it was easy to mash any digital audio/video artifacts together, to the point you could easily get lost in such experiments. I didn't see much additional value from such work, as I'd said enough about mashups and remixes in my thesis. But there were a couple of silent films that were relevant during this same time, which made me think about contemporary soundtracks.

    One of these came from a marketing and digital design culture course, as well as a creative and critical thinking course for undergraduates at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). To explore the historical roots of branding design in the first course, not to mention the controversial power of film technology and propaganda messaging in the early 20th century, I felt it was important to show the students Len Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will". However, I did this by using excerpts of the Kino Video documentary on the filmmaker, rather than using her actual films, which for a modern classroom setting are long, repetitive and difficult for keeping attention (much like my lecture notes!).

    We didn't spend a lot of time on these historical origins of modern advertising. Little bits of class here and there. But understanding the historical context for design actions – or at least understanding the references, past influences, current manifestations, and areas where controversy can emerge – was something I felt important for students. Still do. So after finishing the course for the semester, and having the library copy of "Triumph of the Will" on hand, I had an idea for a sound track to go with it.

    Tool's 1997 album "Ænima" has always been my favourite from the band, and if you're familiar with it, you'll recall the spoken word track in the middle that's in German and sounds very menacing. It's actually a harmless recipe for cookies (I think?). Regardless, I was thinking about that track when considering a mashup and so decided to press play on Track 1 and see how it would fit with Riefenstahl's opus...

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  4. At the point of defending my thesis in March of 2006, I had the three Radiohead mashup/remixes included as part of the project. These used music from all seven of their album releases to that point, as well as some b-sides. Since there were no more Radiohead albums to make use of, I figured that was it for such experiments. However, while teaching some courses in the summer, a couple more non-Radiohead mashups came about.

    Very little work was put into either, since I wasn't going to publish anything around them, they were really just a couple "let's see..." examples. Instead of the old analog transfer to FCP that I did on the previous Radiohead + silent experiments in 2003 and 2004, there was now easy-to-use DVD conversion software available to create video files to work throw some audio against and see what sticks.

    The bigger issue was inspiration. At that point it was easy to mash any digital audio/video artifacts together, to the point you could easily get lost in such experiments. I didn't see much additional value from such work, as I'd said enough about mashups and remixes in my thesis. But there were a couple of silent films that were relevant during this same time, which made me think about contemporary soundtracks.

    One of these came from a marketing and digital design culture course, and more info here...

    vimeo.com/141810711

    The second mashup I believe was simply that: combining D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" with Cracker's "The Golden Age", both as-is, no edits. I'm not exactly sure, as I've not given this work that much time. Aside from the irony of taking an historically influential early motion picture with white supremacist racial elements and combining it with the music of the ironically-named 90s college rock band Cracker, what was the influence for this work? Basically, it was Paul Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky.

    I had met Mr. Spooky earlier that summer while he was in Vancouver, as the thesis I had just published heavily-referenced his work "Rhythm Science". I had originally met with him at the 2005 AIGA Design Conference in Boston, and used a video I made of his keynote to the conference on many occasions in my classes. It all had to do with remix remix remix and there's plenty to read on it. One of his more recent works that he references in the keynote is his live DJ'd "remix" of "Birth of a Nation".

    http://www.djspooky.com/art/rebirth.php

    After the meeting with Miller in summer 2006, and just prior to heading to California for a concert with Cracker, I figured I'd take a look at the Griffith silent film in question. Of course since it was a silent film, I figured why not play this Cracker album "The Golden Age" along side it. The results are shown above. There are some moments that work well, but nothing comparable to "Kid A With Movie Camera" or the others now in the collection. And I'm sure that you could find a number of other soundtracks that will have their moments as well. So in that sense, the work I call "Golden Age of a Nation" is more or less the needed fail case in these experiments (*the Radiohead remix with "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" is a similar fail case in this regard).

    That aside, as as with most of the mashup/remix material in this collection, there is something valuable about looking at the sociocultural themes from the early 20th century situated in more contemporary music (regardless of whether it "syncs"). These issues seem even more relevant today, nearly ten years later from when the mashup was made. Hard not to take another look at "Birth of a Nation" today through the lens of Ferguson Missouri. On a different note, if you know Cracker front man David Lowery's recent takes on the digital music space, this mashup sets up a whole other discussion. Not a bad thing actually for a work that I don't think actually "works".

    TBD

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Mashups of old films with new soundtracks

karmafia

This channel will host all the old silent film mashups with rock music that I created between 2003 and 2011. More info to follow...

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