Thursday, July 06, 2006

Eye Contact

Negative, Oil Factory Films
Written and Directed by Jamie Thraves
USA, 2005
6 min.

I am momentarily breaking from the regular format of multi-video programs to show Jamie Thraves’ short film Negative. When I came across Negative it shone so brightly that I was unable to pair it with anything else for fear of overpowering the rest.

In Thraves’ homage to Hitchcock he shows how Laura Mulvey’s often-critiqued notion of the penetrative gaze is still alive and well in contemporary media. The viewpoint is strong and fixed. The music is leading. As the story unfolds, the piece vacillates wildly between homage and satire of its inspiration material while still rolling ahead to the exciting climax.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Without A Word From Our Sponsors Part 4

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Closer: The Fall of Baghdad, Directed by Stephen Marshall, Produced by Lisa Hsu, USA, 2003
6 min.

This cannibalization of the coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom by the Guerrilla News Network highjacks the conventional 24-hour news network ticker and implants it with their version of the invasion. Sadly, three years later, the list continues.

Without A Word From Our Sponsors Part 3

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The 90's Pilot Episode, Tom Weinberg, Executive Producer, Joel Cohen, Producer, USA, 1989
10 min.

Excerpts from “Beijing Journal” by Pat Keeton and “Crack Clouds Over Hell’s Kitchen” by The Educational Video Center that both aired on the pilot episode of "The 90’s" television program. “Beijing Journal” covers the student uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989 while “Crack Clouds Over Hell’s Kitchen” provides an up-close portrait of drug addiction in New York City. The videoblogging feel of these two pieces immediately struck me when I watched them as well as their immediacy and intimacy with the subject matter.

Without A Word From Our Sponsors Part 2

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Blackout in East Timor, Directed by Stephen Marshall, Produced by Paul McNuily and Joulie Wheeler, USA, 1997
8 min.

“Blackout in East Timor” examines the limited coverage of the brutal abuse inflicted by Indonesia on East Timor during its US backed occupation. I like the discussion at the beginning of the video about the high cost of investigative journalism and the limits to covering stories. The video was made at the tail end of Indonesia’s 25-year occupation of the region and called for a boycott of corporations that do business with Indonesia.

Without A Word From Our Sponsors Part 1

Birth of a Network, Independent World Television, 2006
13.5 min.

A short teaser trailer for Independent World Television, producer of the independent news program The Real News, which is currently available on-line. Through a grass-roots fundraising campaign, modeled after web initiatives like and the Howard Dean campaign, the network plans to have their programming available on digital cable and satellite television by 2007. Independent World Television is “non-profit and accepts no funding from governments, corporations, or commercial advertising.” The reach and possibilities of this kind of programming is very exciting. For now, the website samples will have to be enough.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sweet Potato Mash part 5

This Place Sucks, Shawn Nee, USA, 2005
4 min

This Place Sucks uses the typical A versus B mashup format to create a slick final product. Inserting the Superfriends into Office Space acts as a reminder of the wild possibilities of youth and the sad realities of many jobs. Is it too jaded? Maybe.

Strangely, the resulting work highlights the problematic representation of race in the original source materials. It was this aspect that I focused more on after viewing it than what I perceived as the intended focus of the work.

Sweet Potato Mash part 4

TV Chopping, VJ Black Pearl (BPTV), Japan, 2006
2 min

This mashup is a music video composed of mostly 80s TV ephemera. BPTV mixes, cuts and repeats a steady stream of dark images into a short program. A perfect tribute to or critique of the idiot box, check out their other programs at

Sweet Potato Mash part 3

Chaos, Anarchy, Mayhem! It’s Hippies! Jeremiah Jones, USA, 2006
1 min

For this video Jones combines thrift store footage and home movies into a jumbled report on cultural revolt. The clever animation overlay and children’s programming flicker against darker media images until the image is lost leaving behind scattered audio. While this is a good start, Jones’ newer work explores more politicized territory.

Sweet Potato Mash part 2

Hey Ya, Charlie Brown! Ryan King and Dan Hess, USA, 2006
1.5 min

This simple mashup takes a worn-out song and combines it with a classic. I absolutely love the dance scene. The piece is a perfect example of how just the right meshing of material can result in a truly original creation. This shortened version also includes references to the work’s making and the subsequent consequences and fallout. The original can be seen here.

Sweet Potato Mash part 1

Three Piece Band, Kel McKeown, UK, 2001
6 min

This brilliant mashup combines together three different music tutorial videos into one coherent piece. The music coaches’ tips to “play together, improvise and create” cleverly echo into the current mashup debate. Sounds and images play back and forth as the artists attain their sampled groove. The “now you try it” feel of the original videos melds perfectly into this self-reflexive creation.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I've told you this once before

Desperate Housewives, Ryanne Hodson, USA, 2005
5 min.

In Hodson's personal video blog she discusses television, relationships and her affinity to recordings. The nature of the media is unconsciously engaged through Hodson's quirky monologue.

"The White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy" told by Frances Clark Sayers (1977), Frances Clark Sayers/Blue Heron Film and Video, USA, 1977
12 min.

Part of a larger folktale series, Frances Clark Sayers reflects on the nature of storytelling before reciting the tale of the "White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy" by Carl Sandburg. Glitches, both spoken and analog, are forever sealed into the narrative to perfectly exemplify the nature of storytelling in a digital manner.

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choreographic loop | vlog 002, Jose Nuno, Netherlands, 2005
2 min.

This is one of Nuno's earliest video blog entries. It is a gorgeous loop that captures two lovers “sharing some emotion through these compressed animated pixels”. The lovers enter stage left, embrace, break away, exit stage right and repeat.

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Dark Night Flick, Justin Hall, USA, 2005
10 min.

Pioneering blogger Justin Hall breaks down, recording his distress for his website. Having always shared his life with his audience, Justin exists in a space where his breakdown is at once real, simulated, mediated and entertaining. Hall's work is a provoking meditation on the nature of intimacy, privacy and media in contemporary life.

Revenge, Shannon Noble, USA, 2005
2 min.

An example of “ revogging”, Noble combines vlogs by three individuals to create a dramatic new narrative. What is the nature of a personal story when anything can now be treated as a floating signifier?

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Come Join the Fun!, Trafalgar remix of Charles Keating original, USA, 2004
2.5 min.

A remix of George Putnam’s 1964 report “Perversion for Profit”, which is now available via the Prelinger Archives. The resulting video twists Putnam’s words into a demand for Americans to defend their right to distribute pornography. The video uses deft editing to sever Putnam’s form from his content, while highlighting broadcast media’s ability to manufacture sensationalism.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Take One

Welcome to Prepossessing.

My main focus for this blog is to showcase internet video from a variety of sources. The site is technically a vlog but I do not plan to post work that I am producing myself. Instead, I see Prepossessing as a means to curate video programs on a variety of subjects.

My initial plan is to make distinct video exhibits comprised of work that is available on-line. The postings will resemble conventional art/independent video screenings with a set of five or six videos per program. I also plan to stick to specific themes or subject matter for each "screening".

I hope to keep fairly regular postings and commentary but I am sure things will be in flux as I figure things out and realize what I can and cannot do.

I hope Prepossessing will become my own personal on-line video exhibit.

Stay tuned.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.