3.5 minutes of distilled fannish joy

I just came back from VividCon, the fan vidding convention. (If you want to know what vidding is, click the tab above.) Vidders submit their vids to Vividcon months in advance and gather together to watch them premiere in a cinematic space (it’s a small con with just over a hundred members, so everyone can fit in one room). There’s an intense sense of occasion to watching vids en masse, and taking in these beautifully crafted music-video-poem-essays without all the distractions of the internet ecology in which they usually appear is a surprisingly overwhelming and deeply rewarding experience. It was for me, anyway, and it’s left me with much to think about and many videos to share. I’m going to post my recommendations here over the next week or two.

Starships, by Bironic, was one of the many premiering vids. But this one didn’t screen in a cinematic space. Instead it opened Vividcon’s dance party, Club Vivid, where vids play on two huge screens at either end of a room filled with dancing people: some cosplaying, many covered in glitter. The existence of Club Vivid as a venue has, I think, encouraged vidders in the con’s orbit to create more kinetic, danceable vids to high-energy songs. For me, attending merged two of the different kinds of feelings that make their way into my academic work: the joy of dancing at a queer club, and the geeky pleasures of bonding over a shared media love. At the vid convention club, Starships was a rollercoaster reminder of why science fiction has always been my drug of choice, wrapped up to the beat of Nicki Minaj.

This is a sublimely edited vid about the visual pleasures and awesome wonders of science fiction media. It’s the essence of fannish feeling distilled: the sensation that has long been described in genre theory as “sense of wonder”. I think a lot about the complicated politics of science fiction: the military histories of computing and space flight, the colonizing impulse that is inherent in the idea of humanity’s expansion beyond the planet. This vid shows and shares what sf has to offer in excess of that; why some of us get hooked on the joys of imagined exploration and its technology, on the stories we can tell about it and the kinds of lives it might make possible. It’s no accident that Bironic’s post has page upon page of comments, or that one of the commenters thinks that the vid would play well for the enormous and diverse fannish audience of Comiccon.

Watch it full screen; it’s worth it. The password is starships.

Starfields, wormholes, shuttles spiralling out of control and into somewhere else; awe and wonder in our eyes and at our fingertips. Getting high on this stuff (and making art out of it) is the shared experience out of which fan communities build worlds.

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