14 Apr Found footage Filmmaking
Using a specific example from a film or television series, discuss the ways in which film is like a language.
For this think piece, I selected the “Share Life: Iraq Tour (2003)” video from the Recycled Cinema Playlist. This video was created by Johnathan “in 2002 by combining a TV commercial for Kodak with documentary film footage to focus on the absence of graphic or realistic images of human suffering in Iraq presented in the US mainstream news media.” By combining these sources, Jonathan was able to “recontextualize images by inscribing new meanings onto materials through creative montage,” as described by Horwatt in “A Taxonomy of Digital Video Remixing: Contemporary Found Footage Practice on the Internet” from Cultural Borrowings, ed. Iain Robert Smith.
The use of particularly graphic photos, depicting the effects of war on Iraq, conflict with the otherwise happy and exuberant nature of the Kodak commercial, further highlighting the emotional deficit between the images. This is similar to comparative images of women in Iraq in the mid 1900’s versus similar images from post 2003, which depict the vast increase in conservative ideals that have befallen the region in the last 50 years. The use of contrasting images draws attention to the difference in prospectives and narratives being presented by media.
As noted by Horrwatt, the accessibility of footage through video archives, such as YouTube, has vastly increased the amount of culture jamming videos using appropriated materials. With these videos come many questions of authorship and copyright, as well as questions of how media is now critically consumed by viewers and what that means for the future of the film industry.