This programme is designed to generatively edit together multiple video clips. It does so in a number of different 'styles', that range from simply placing clips one after the other in a metric fashion, through to drawing glitch-style subsections and generatively morphing shapes.
produced by: Howard Melnyczuk
EVA BARTLETT IS ON THE PAYROLL by HOWARD MELNYCZUK
single channel video, 2017;
produced using VIDEOBLITORATOR v1.0 by HPM;
This programme is designed to generatively edit together multiple video clips. It does so in a number of different 'styles', that range from simply placing clips one after the other in a metric fashion (see Eisenstein's Methods of Montage: https://goo.gl/pHU18B), through to drawing glitch-style subsections and generatively morphing shapes.
Much of the visual style of this piece was inspired by the work and theory of the Dutch artist Rosa Menkman, and in particular her Glitch Studies Manifesto (https://goo.gl/3p4hRh) and her ideas surrounding "resolution studies" that would seek to break the confines of standardised, commercialised ideas of "quality". I have for a long time felt the singular, rectangular frame of tradition cinema is at times confining, and so I hope to explore more ways to further deconstruct this norm in the future.
The submitted version of the programme uses the same clip 3 times, although there is no real limit to the number of different clips (other than the host computer's abilities). This was an intentional artistic, aesthetic and political decision. The video that it uses is ripped from youTube; it shows Syrian Army forces moving into Aleppo during the final days of the siege. The intention of the piece is for the visual images to become more and more abstracted from the brutal reality of the content contained in the clip. This may seem at first crass, but there is a reason for it.
From the comfort of Western homes, a lot of debate has been sparked online about what the material reality in Aleppo last month. A lot of this descended into facile arguments as to which party - the Syrian regime or the Free Syrian Army - get the prestige of embodying the western idealistic archetype of 'The Good Guys'. Russia Today, the Russian state broadcaster, recently employed a post-Snowden-Greenwald campaign to hire freelance journalists who claim to work independently whilst repeating the state party line. The Western media coverage has been markedly poor, sporadic and self-interested during one the worst war atrocities in recent history.
The other two clip used feature the journalist Eva Bartlett, who in interviews and press conferences during December 2016 claimed that the Western media's portrayal of the siege of Aleppo was a fabrication. She is easily identifiable as being on the Russia Today payroll despite being adamant that she is neutral.
Whilst I have chosen to use this programme in this way, the code does not demand it. Moving forward I would like to develop the programme further. Plans include a method with which to stream the clips directly from randomly selected videos on youTube, thereby removing the need for clips to be held on the host computer. I would also like to employ the method of Optical Flow in order to create more glitch-like looks.
A huge problem I encountered while making this programme was getting it to run smoothly and quickly, given the large data-load that comes with using video. To counter this, the programme current uses video-clips of the lowest quality (144p). Also, the programme has been coded to the best of my current ability to run as smoothly as possible. The only section that currently runs very slowly (on my computer at least) is the final section, but aesthetically this is not a problem. As the piece is partly about the fallibility of mediated information, the use of low-res videos and the sometimes glitchy, jerky style is almost endearing. I do however recognise that part of the brief specified the visual graphics run smoothly, and I hope the programme runs as smoothly on other machines as it just about does on mine. Moving into the future I hope to learn how to improve these issues to make the programme as quick as possible.
To quote Hito Steyerl: "The poor image is no longer about the real thing - the originary original. Instead, it is about its own real conditions of existence: about swarm circulation, digital dispersion, fractured and flexible temporalities. It is about defiance and appropriation just as it is about conformism and exploitation." (https://goo.gl/xk65Mx)
-- Howard Melnyczuk, 2017
Wikipedia entry on Soviet Montage:- https://goo.gl/pHU18B
Rosa Menkman, Glitch Studies Manifesto (2011):- https://goo.gl/3p4hRh
Hito Steyerl, In Defence of the Poor Image (2009):- https://goo.gl/xk65Mx