“Oil and War” will be the theme of a first-of-its-kind Critical Remix Festival. The festival and gallery opening will take place January 6, 2011, at 5 p.m. at Gallery 25 (660 Van Ness Ave.) in downtown Fresno. Video submissions from around the country will compete for a $1,000 prize. The opening will feature selected critical remix videos and the awarding of the prize. Video Remix uses found video that is edited to create critiques of society, media, corporations and government. Hence, the term critical remix best describes the function of these videos.
For many, and especially younger people, YouTube videos have replaced magazines, newspapers and even TV as news sources and opinion shapers. A popular YouTube video can reach an audience of thousands within hours and the most popular videos can reach millions within days. A good example of a remix video designed to critique the war experience from a young soldier’s perspective is “Jake Gyllenhaal Challenges the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize,” created by Diran Lyons. This video, viewable at www.appropriationalliance.com, combines scenes from two movies featuring actor Jake Gyllenhaal and news footage of President Obama’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize to form a passionate critique.
The Critical Remix Festival is presented by the Appropriation Alliance in conjunction with an ArtHop opening of petroleum themed art by local artist and co-founder Diran Lyons, featuring vintage oil company signs. The Appropriation Alliance is an upstart organization created by Lyons, Desiree D’Alessandro and Byron Russell, local remix artists and media instructors who are excited about the potential of this genre to speak to a wide audience and to create more conscious consumers of media. Their goal is to encourage, publicize, support, promote, archive and defend the use of critical remix as a tool for artists who wish to use media to comment on media.
The Internet has created an illusion of unlimited choice in our media. Yet, the vast majority of content is owned and delivered through video by a handful of organizations on behalf of powerful economic interests. These corporations and political figures count on ownership of the “airways” to allow their views to go unchallenged by the populace.
By creating an alternate universe divorced from history or context, organizations like BP can manufacture an identity completely
removed from reality, one in which they can reinvent themselves as a business that goes “Beyond Petroleum.” But we can undo that spell by taking the same polished, controlled message and putting it into a more useful, truthful context, by remixing advertising and news footage into something new that can illuminate context and history, while often retaining a sense of humor along the way. We call these videos critical remixes. The Critical Remix Festival organizers are seeking short YouTube videos done in the remix genre. The call for submissions for the “Oil and War” Critical Remix Festival was sent to film schools, filmmakers and organizations committed to new and open media. Local remix artists are encouraged to submit videos. The deadline for submissions is Monday, December 20, 2010, at 5 p.m. PST. Videos created for the festival will be available to anyone on YouTube. Please visit our Web site, www.appropriationalliance.org, for more information, or contact the Appropriation Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace Fresno, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Fresno branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Fresno Center for Nonviolence are supporters of the “Oil and War” Critical Remix Festival. The organizers are seeking support and donations from others in the community. Donations can be made online at http://centerfornonviolence.org/wp/contribute/ (note “remix festival” under the special notes section when you confirm your donation) or by check made out to “FCNV” (note “remix festival” in the memo section) and mailed to the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, CA 93728. All donations are tax-deductible and appreciated.