Sunday, January 24, 2016

Project # 2 - Full Music Video for "Beer & Pizza," by Small Boys

In response to some suggestions and personal creative decisions with how the video can be improved, additional footage has been mixed in with the current cut, but the video does not look significantly different from what it did before.

"Beer & Pizza," by Small Boys - Official Music Video - Michael Hubbard

As you already know, this is an extension of the idea I had set from the beginning of this term: a music video built around the common notion of the insane, the unreal, or more admissibly, hyper-real, in this case, with the stereotypical college party/music scene.

All I have shown you until now was a brief look into what the tone and overall look of the video would be, and now you get to see it in its entirety!

The music video is what you would expect after the preview I gave at my last presentation. It is loud, obnoxious, and has no resemblance to the reality of the average college party. However, what's different here is that at a certain point, the video takes a “break” under the illusion of being a brief, technical shortage. I create this intermediate break from the chaos that has ensued on-screen to help further visualize the separation between reality/expectation and the hyper-real/fantasy. For that brief moment, there is no assault of oversaturated color, overproduced imagery, or exaggeration of human behavior, there is instead an dialogue between two people waiting for the band “Small Boys” to continue playing after an equipment error who ultimately acknowledge they are in a music video and have to continue playing along. However, this conversation between the two was real and not manipulated in anyway for the sake of the music video. That being said, the technical hiccup is also fun approach to twisting the already messy structure of the music video, as well as making light of the many glitches and random shut-downs and slow-downs that have occurred here and there while making this video.

A quote I referenced earlier from Jean Baudrillard's Simulations was essentially an overlong, over-explained justification for the ludocracy of the video initial content, where he describes the "hyper-real" as a “simulation,” or better yet the “reflection” of a reality that distorts or “perverts” that particular reality to the point when that simulation or reflection “bears no relation to any reality” (Baudrillard 11). Like any other music video, especially the over-produced kind for the cheap, quick-and-easy pop songs of today, this video is a fiction of the real thing, a bloated projection of an older, more traditional person's disproportionate expectation of that activity which they are unfamiliar with.

To go more in-depth with that, another quote I would like to bring up in relation to the unexpected, interim break toward the end of the music video is one that elaborates on the signals of something that is beyond real, yet continue to distort that reality. "It is no longer a question of imitation...nor even of parody. It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself..." (Baudrillard 4). The things that happen during the break are reminding us that all of what we have seen before is just for show and a long, technical process to commit, whether it is the abundance of footage shot or the time spent preparing and making the shot, and once that break is over, we return to the music video, but we notice that it has become more nonchalant than before and comes to a chaotic, literal screeching halt at the very end. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tony Orrico Friday Performance Piece & Gallery Opening Reflection

Last Friday night, I had the honor of filming visiting artist Tony Orrico’s performance piece at the Wriston Art Center as well as the subsequent gallery opening of his other artworks and the guests coming in to appreciate them. A large part of Orrico’s technique implements his dance education and involves him lying on a large flat sheet of paper on his stomach where he would then spin himself around in a circular fashion with a graphite pencil in each hand drawing out the resulting patterns. This is just one of his techniques, as it appears he has dabbled in other mediums such as collage, prints, and sculpture, all of which have been applied impressively. The symmetry of all of Orrico’s pieces is impeccable and illustrates a certain fluidity I do not as vividly recall from previous gallery showings.  That being said, it is this symmetry that, while certainly appealing to look at, creates an almost tacked-on or commercial feel from Orrico’s artwork. The pieces are so pattern-oriented, so symmetrical, so perfectly portioned, that it almost feels lifeless. Imperfections, whether they are minor or not, at least lend the image of a work crafted by a human and not by someone with machine-like proficiency who does not particularly go beyond the simple, abstract forms. To further my criticism of Orrico's repetitive artwork, I cite author Jean Baudrillard, who writes in his extensive treatise Simulations in concern of "industrial simulacrum," simulacrum being another word for a representation or imitation, that "The immersive energies that are at work in technique...should not hide the fact that it is...only a matter of attaining to that indefinite reproductibility" (Baudrillard 98). How Orrico primarily goes about creating his artwork is without question impressive to behold, but he just seems to do the same repetitive motions that predictably result in a massive piece that essentially contains a large number of looped, patterned circles. I may not be fond of the manufactured feel of the pieces, but I at least greatly admire the uniqueness and ambition of Tony Orrico’s physicality-intensive technique and the amount of sweat and time put into that technique.

Tony Orrico's Performance Piece at Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros in Mexico City

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Project # 1: Teaser for Music Video "Beer & Pizza," by Small Boys

"Beer & Pizza," by Small Boys - Official Music Video Teaser - Michael Hubbard

For this first submission, working with the idea of the “hyper-real” and the many possible ways that term could be interpreted, I chose to dabble in what I read as excess to an absurd degree. Jean Baudrillard essentially describes the hyper-real as a “simulation,” or a “reflection” of a reality that basically distorts or “perverts” it to a point where that simulation or reflection “bears no relation to any reality” (Baudrillard 11). Since I am primarily interested in working with film/video, what other medium better captures that excess, that unreal reality, better than the modern music video? Your watching it on a screen and from it you experience an exaggeration of an activity/situation made in favor of catering to the artistic license of the song that it is playing to.  Generally speaking, all believability is almost immediately thrown aside by the viewer because he/she is already expecting to watch a stylized foray into shallow, overproduced entertainment. There is typically no intelligent substance in your average music video today because intelligence is no longer as easy to market, and I take advantage of that lack of intelligence in order to make an entertaining piece of schlock. The music video I am working on – “Beer & Pizza” – based on the song written by an on-campus band that calls itself “Small Boys,” captures the simulation of the absurdist representation of college party/drinking life, and I could not resist finally bringing the blatantness of the song to the screen! Of course, this is only a glimpse at the main attraction, so be prepared for the full music video to drop!