Perry Bard takes Man with a Movie Camera, dissects it into sequence clips and makes it available through a website inviting users to the Global Remake1 of Dziga Vertov’s movie.
Everyday a new version of the movie is built. On the left is Vertov’s original. On the right is a shot uploaded from a participant. The uploaded shots are rotated each day if there is more than one. So the built movie may never be quite the same. The project shows an example of how digital platforms provide global accessibility in the way we connect, make meaning, experience and communicate. The past and present is shown side by side: Vertov’s footage illustrates the industrial landscape of the 20’s and the uploaded sequences translate the world today.
Dziga Vertov can be seen as an even earlier database filmmaker. Manovich cites Vertovs Man with a Movie Camera as the most important example of database imagination in modern media art. The original film has three levels: Cameraman filming the shots, audience watching the finished film and shots from street life in Russian cities edited in chronological order of that particular day. While the last level can be seen as text or ‘the story’, the other two can be seen as meta-texts. Manovich points out Dziga Vertov who achieved a successful merging between database and narrative into a new form.
To quote further Manovich: The database became an expression of the variability of new media: entries can be modiﬁed, added and deleted without consequences for the entity of the database; the user is granted random access to different kinds of multimedia objects. In the simplest case this may be by engaging in the linearity of a movie by jumping to different positions.” Manovich describes the database as “a new way to structure our experience of ourselves and our world,” and therefore as the contemporary counterpart to the traditional form of narration.2
Similarly Jennifer Proctor3 remakes Bruce Conner’s seminal 1958 found footage film A Movie4 using appropriated material from YouTube and LiveLeak. As a remake, the video provides a parallel narrative that explores the changes in historical and visual icons from 1958 to 2010 – and those images that remain surprisingly, and delightfully, the same. The work also comments on the pervasiveness of footage available for appropriation in an online world, and the way disparate threads in the YouTube and LiveLeak databases can be assembled to create “a movie.”
- Man With a Movie Camera: The Global Remake, Perry Bard http://dziga.perrybard.net/ ↩
- Lev Manovich, Visualizing Vertov, http://softwarestudies.com/cultural_analytics/Manovich.Visualizing_Vertov.2013.pdf ↩
- Jen Proctor, A Movies, 2010-2012, https://vimeo.com/11531028 ↩
- Bruce Conner, A Movie, 1958, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FMjBtvsx2o ↩