Rear Left

Gone Troppo

Posted in The Society for the Appreciation of Audio-Visual Culture by rearleft on April 18, 2010

Now see this: Bananaland, a freshly tightened up video mashup by my VJ alter-ego Ghostleg.

This piece is a new edit of a much longer, more club-visual friendly version that was originally commissioned by Geko Jones of Dutty Artz for their New York Tropical parties. Uproot Andy & Geko Jones are hosting the Que Bajo?! dance party EVERY WEEK at Santo’s Party House in Lower Manhattan. That earlier mix was about 35 minutes long and silent, built to be played as an accompaniment with DJs for dancefloor/lounging consumption. This is what I’m considering the web edit, paired with tropical bass anthem La Vida Vale la Pena which features heavy sampling from a track by Petrona Martinez, remix by Uproot Andy.

All images are drawn from 3 sources:

  1. Journey to Bananaland (1950)
  2. Chiquita Banana (1947)
  3. Cantinflas y Sus Amigos aka Amigo and Friends (ep. “Cantinflas Meets Simon Bolivar“) (1969?)

Dedicated to the countless people across the Americas killed and enslaved by Chiquita Brands, formerly known as the United Fruit Company.

Special thanks to Rodrigo “Pollo” Martinez for translation/interpretation.

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The Tal Afar Tophy

Posted in War & Culture by rearleft on March 22, 2010

An excerpt from my recent essay on remix technique in war trophy videos:

As an artifact demonstrative of the use of digital audio-visual recording technologies by Western militaries, and their remixability by veterans of the US-led wars of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the Tal Afar video points towards a set of historical and social conditions which demand reflection.

On one level, this production demonstrates the deep permeation into our culture of the logic of remix. The video’s producer (or producers) have taken materials from whatever source that they see fit, apparently without concern for copyright (in the case of the music), classification (of military documentation), or social norms (regarding depictions of killing), and remolded them into a form that they are able to share with everyone in the world. Moreover, judging by the volume of views, re-postings, and comments on the various instances of the video appearing online, a sizable audience exists for this particular type of remix. An amateur media producer’s ability to represent their experience and perspective on war, and to do so by working with some of the very materials of war-making itself, is a powerful notion.

At another level, this remix exposes the contemporary conflation of war and media, and the horrific normalization of this situation. In his influential essay “All But War is Simulation: The Military-Entertainment Complex”, Tim Lenoir (2000) outlines a network of collaborations between the military, government, academic researchers, and the entertainment industries. Remix war trophy videos can be viewed as a feedback loop in the Military-Entertainment Complex, the weaponised image reaching back out from the battlefield through the computer networks, confusing the viewer’s sense of materiality with its hyper-real representation of enemy cities being obliterated as if in a video game, complete with HUD interface. But ultimately this representation of war becomes, to draw on the notion of “the spectacle”, ‘not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images.’ (Debord 1977). When we watch the Tal Afar video on our screens it is easy to be taken by the skill of the editor, the wonder of the spread of digital technologies and remix culture across social sectors, the voyeuristic thrill of witnessing such destruction from the perspective of the destroyer, and it is easy to forget that what we are watching is clip after clip of humans killing humans.

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Spasm Hazard

Posted in The Society for the Appreciation of Audio-Visual Culture by rearleft on January 31, 2009

Filastine‘s got the ill visuals on this new video for Desordenador.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

one american soldier

Posted in War & Culture by rearleft on January 11, 2009

I turned up a interesting connection while  doing the research for this book of curriculum I’m putting together with my colleagues at Global Action Project.

Apparently, a guy called Michael Salomon directed the music video for Metallica’s One:

…simply one of the best music videos ever made. An incredibly powerful antiwar statement and a deeply disturbing piece of sci-fi horror. The song retells a story based on the novel Johnny Got His Gun, which I must track down. The clips throughout One seem to come from the 1971 film version, but apparently there’s a 2008 staged production on film that I’m on the lookout for.

Sadly it looks like Michael Salomon’s perspective on US wars has shifted somewhat, judging by his more recent work for Toby Keith…

(note: universal music won’t allow me to embed the clip, but if you click it anyway it should take you to their youtube)

…an incredible piece of OTT white patriarchal militarist propaganda. We use this video in the curriculum to introduce the concept of ideology to teenagers. It works remarably well.

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