28.6.07

Testing the waters: fanvids as artistic expression

Perhaps foolishly, I promised Priya that I'd start posting more often. So. The posts may be shorter than usual, but I'll try and link to some interesting stuff that has some relationship to academia.

First up: a link to an introduction to fanvids.

Ephemeral Traces

You may have noticed, Loyal Reader, that Priya and I have more than a passing interest in popular culture. For me, at least, this extends into an interest in how popular culture is reworked by audiences and the public (including a recent paper on the creation and posting of fanvids for the First World War) and fanvids as a genre are a big part of that.

Kristina's post is both a decent introduction to the concept and development of fanvidding and a way to start exploring the limitations that vidders and fandom put on the popularity of their works.

She's limited her recommendations to pieces available on imeem, a hosting platform similar to youtube, and thereby excluded any number of influential and iconic vids posted elsewhere. This was mainly a question of access--many vids are available only through password-protected sites because of copyright questions--but it does tend to skew the choices to newer vids in particular fandoms with a strong imeem presence.

She's also attempting to create an introduction that requires little deep knowledge of particular canon sources or fan history, which means that some videos (those requiring additional knowledge of dominant pairings, the dynamics of slash fandoms, foundational fanfic tropes, and fandom histories) are excluded. This isn't a problem, so much as an example of an internal fandom mechanism for limiting the audience for the vids. Many of the pieces left out require a particular level of commitment from the viewer that makes them especially successful in fannish circles but potentially incomprehensible outside the confines of a given fandom.

Even so, her choices (especially regarding multifandom vids) offer a strong selection of the varieties of vids and the popular fandoms for them.* In addition, she spends some time deconstructing the choices, creating a way in for viewers who are new to the concept of reworking texts in this manner.

It's a post that ought to be read by anyone interested in popular culture or fandom studies.**

* I do quibble with her inclusion of here's luck's "In the Mirror" as a stand-alone video. It's really best understood as one half of a duet, and makes much more sense when viewed along with "Out Here," another piece by the same vidder.

Not that such arguments couldn't be made for most of these vids (it's a conversational medium, after all) but that omission is especially glaring, given that "Out Here" is iconic in the fandom in question.

It's available on imeem, here. I'd suggest watching "Out Here" first, and then viewing "In the Mirror."

[ETA: To be fair, she does point out that "In the Mirror" is a sequel. And I suspect that her decision not to use "Out Here" may be related to the limitations of imeem, which doesn't allow the particular editing style of "Out Here" to come through.]

** Fair warning: imeem vids begin playing as soon as the window opens. As with youtube, it's a good idea to pause the videos while they load in order to get the full effect.

[ETA: Note that Ephemeral Traces has a sidelink to "An Archive of Our Own," about which I will have more to say later.]

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2 Comments:

At 6/28/2007 1:54 PM, Anonymous Kristina Busse said...

Thanks for the link : )

I was actually going back and forth between "Out Here" and "In the Mirror," and decided on the latter, because it struck me as more accessible (in other words, "Out Here" seemed to require more canon knowledge to me), but your point is well taken! [Would you mind if I posted an ETA? Because I think you're right that it might have made more sense just to link them as a pair rather than trying to pick one or the other.]

As for restricting it to imeem--part of it was the password issue, but another was respect for vidders trying to stay out of public sight. Not that my blog is public by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel much less hesitant to link directly to people's sites from LJ than I do from my blog.

Many of the pieces left out require a particular level of commitment from the viewer that makes them especially successful in fannish circles but potentially incomprehensible outside the confines of a given fandom. I've been arguing this extensively for fanfiction mostly, but omg, is it ever more true for fanvids!

 
At 6/28/2007 2:27 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

No problem! I actually lost the link at first, and had to post a request for someone to dig it up for me. Luckily I"m not the only one on my f-list reading your blog!

I was actually going back and forth between "Out Here" and "In the Mirror," and decided on the latter, because it struck me as more accessible

It is more accessible, in that you don't need to know Ray's history to see most of the parallels between the music and the images. I suspect that comes from the physicality of the character, although there are some very clear links in "Out Here" that translate without canon knowledge.

"Out Here" is also much more overtly slash (although they both leave out the scene that is sort of the touchstone for dS slash pairings, an editing choice which I find utterly fantastic) and so isn't going to be as mainstream for people who don't have a background in the fandom or the statements made by Paul Gross relating to the show.

So yeah, I can understand the choice between them. That said, I really do think they work best as a set--plus you get to consider how vidders expand on existing vids, and the way that their perspective can change over time and with more immersion in the fandom itself.

All of which is a terribly long-winded way of saying, sure, feel free to add an ETA linking the two. I think that's a great idea. *g*

Not that my blog is public by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel much less hesitant to link directly to people's sites from LJ than I do from my blog.

I figured that. I'm running into the same thing, as I try to turn a long discussion about some webcam photos and the nature of privacy into something that I can post here. I'm not comfortable doing the same things here (either with publicly posting people's names, or links to the photos themselves) that I did in the original discussion, so it's a bit tricky.

With vids it's got to be even more difficult, because there are serious copyright issues that could come up.

I've been arguing this extensively for fanfiction mostly, but omg, is it ever more true for fanvids!

It really is, and as fanfic and vidding both become more visible, I'm wondering if the styles will change as well. On the one hand, I like the idea of vids becoming part of discussions outside their particular fandoms (I've never been able to really grasp most of the BtVS vids, for instance, because it's just not familiar canon/fanon for me) but on the other, I'd hate to lose all the intertextuality that goes on now.

Luckily, I'm not a vidder, so I only have to worry about it when it comes to fic--but that's difficult enough, given that work with short pieces that try to weave together different fandoms with common themes.

(I've just realized that I've strayed over the line from 'legitimately academic' into 'annoyingly stiff and pedantic.' I may be a bit out of practice at this whole public blogging thing.)

 

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