Earlier this year, Anita Sarkeesian of the blog Feminist Frequency invited Julie Levin Russo and I to give a talk on vidding as part of an event on “Remixing Gender and Sexuality” that she was organizing at Cal State Northridge. She has now posted the video online, so you can see Julie and I explain the history of fan video and also watch Jonathan McIntosh talk about political remix video.
I’m excited about this video not just because it shows Julie’s and my talk (although this is my first online video appearance…), but also because it gives people a chance to watch a half-hour vidshow online. The vidding convention Vividcon, which is organized largely around cinema-style vidshows, has just taken place, and it’s been making me think about the pros and cons of watching fanvids with and without detailed contextualization. There is something affectively powerful about seeing video on a large screen, especially given the intense attention to emotional impact that many vidders give, and that can be made even stronger by the juxtapositions between different vids; but, comparing the vidshow we created with the annotated style of discussion that Jonathan used in his talk, it’s clear there’s also something lost, in terms of comprehension.
While I’m on the subject of vidding, I want also to link to a recent piece of legal news that bears heavily on it. In July, the Library of Congress announced an exemption to the DMCA for critical remix, which means that it is no longer illegal for remixers to rip footage from DVDs they own in order to create new works from it. This only scratches the surface of the tangled legal issues surrounding vidding (and legality is a limited if necessary angle on why vidding is a legitimate creative practice, anyway, as I’ve argued in an essay on the subject, “Living in a Den of Thieves“), but it’s certainly a good thing.