Drawing Machines: Altered TV Conference

Work Title: Altered Television

Describe your object: My conference final is a five minute video collage made up of popular entertainment videos from the 90s-2000s, focusing on music, sports, and celebrity culture. I use music videos from the Korean girl group S.E.S., Mariah Carey live performance clips, Jackass violent moment compilations, hockey games from 2003, olympic figure skating, distorted grunge and 90s pop music, interviews with athletes and musicians, and a clip from the documentary Pumping Iron where Arnold Schwarzenegger talks about the sexual pleasure he feels when he lifts weights.

Describe your motivation for making this object:

I want to present altered video in a way that brings together juxtaposing elements of late 90s/early 200s media culture. I want to present Jackass and Mariah Carey in the same context, and by merging them together visually perhaps bridge a presumed cultural gap between the two. I want the glitch to function as an equalizer, and a legitimizer. By viewing familiar images through a distorted lens, I want people to second guess what they are seeing, and re-evaluate their preconceived notions about media. I want to present normal as abnormal through distortion, in such a way that the abnormal or the marginalized becomes normal.

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Describe your process:

First I assembled the clips I wanted to mess with, by looking through my YouTube watch history to find videos from the right time period that were on topic and had interesting visuals that I thought would databend well. I used an online video downloader to get mp4s from YouTube videos, and I used avidemux and audacity to warp the original video files. The final project was cut together using premier. I went back and re-glitched the same video several times to achieve a wide range of visual and audio effects. After I had a product I liked, I screen recorded the raw files I got from audacity to easily get a file that could be edited in video editing softwares. After combining my clips in premier, I realized that a lot of the sound was too destroyed by the databending to be useful or interesting, so I went back into audacity and distorted two songs to put over certain parts, and cut the audio out from other videos to mismatch different audio and visual situations. 

What does the project mean to you?

This project feels like a very strong projection of myself, almost to an embarrassing degree, which was not my goal at all when making this, it just arose out of all the time I spent mining my YouTube watch history for videos that would glitch well. This project is nostalgic to me in some ways, because it reflects an era of media I didn’t live through. But the glitch and the juxtapositions also make this piece feel futuristic to me, and like I have some agency in creating this a future, even if I am constrained by the past… Above all else, this piece is fun and kind of silly, and an entertaining audiovisual spectacle.

Author: Simon Darrow