Dreams of Progress Videos: Artistic Views at the Past

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Some Things Won’t Change, Adam Pelling Deeves, UK, 2009 – 3 min.

“Some Things Won’t Change is a remix of Design For Dreaming, set at the 1956 General Motors Motorama. Downloaded from the Internet Archive, it was made in response to Remyyy’s Same Video (http://vimeo.com/remyyy), Different Use game on Vimeo in which a chosen video is reworked by participants. A cutup technique was used in which samples of the original soundtrack were looped along with the accompanying video.”

Design for Dreaming: http://www.archive.org/details/Designfo1956
Artist: http://www.adampellingdeeves.com
Video: http://vimeo.com/2656059

Fictional recall, Urizen Freaza (Spain) and Misty Woodford (USA), 2008 – 1 min.

“Fictional Recall is a collaborative project based on resurrecting forgotten memories. I purchased a plastic bag full of Super 8 reels for 10€ at the flea market. When screening them I discovered that what I had in my hands was nothing but somebody’s family memories. After the first shock, I began to feel really disgusted by the fact of this memories being sold, rejected or, at least, forgotten. I projected all the footage and cut it in 1 minute length clips which didn’t follow any intention or idea and that I offered to writers to give them a second life.”

Projectionist: Urizen Freaza, http://www.urizen.es
Memory: Misty Woodford, http://instances.carbonmade.com/
Video: http://www.vimeo.com/2477547

Flying, Sam Fuller, USA, 2006 – 2 min.

Please see the video for description. This video was made for the fun of it. It was shot the April 20th, 2006 on the 31st floor of 200 Water Street. After picking the window lock we filmed 17 takes.

Soundtrack ‘The Rendez-Vous’ by Alexandre Desplat.
Artist: http://vimeo.com/samfuller
Video: http://www.vimeo.com/2104162

Commentary
“Some things won’t change” by Adam Pelling Deeves [2009] is a great example of how contemporary artists re-appropriate popular culture videos. Pelling Deeves, in his remix of the 1956 video “Design for Dreaming”, provides different perspectives on the video. In the newer video, the actress Tad Tadlock is the star. She is still seen in the kitchen and in the passenger seat of the car. But unlike the original video, she is the person who drives the story. In the first video, the focus is on technology and cars, but the second version highlights the exhilarating rhythm of her dream. Nothing external has been added to the video, but the artist has been able to transform it, providing  a very different, more contemporary ideal: the eternal malice of human nature, the irreducible distinctiveness of people, and perplexity related to progress.

Fictional Recall by Urizen Freaza and Misty Woodford [2008] is a poetic parenthesis. It reminds the visitor that in the present, there are not only dreams of the future, but also memories of the past. Progress is often articulated in a very rational way. Memories, on the other hand, are a product of subconsciousness. The video Fictional Recall, Episode 3 highlights the fact that memories are not tangible, often out of our control. Another way to question progress is to wonder if our memories reflect a life of continuous improvement. Nostalgia makes old times look better than the present. Society and technology might ‘progress’ but old videos of family reunions make it seem as if nothing has changed.

The idea of “Flying” from Sam Fuller [USA] is straightforward. The video juxtaposes a paper plane – classic symbol of freedom – with the urban setting of Manhattan. This emphasizes the tension between  the structure of a megalopolis and the capacity for its inhabitants to feel free. However, the colours of the video are warm, reminiscent of videos from the 60s – making the artist’s feelings towards the city ambiguous.

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