Cuing the Line

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Concept

Cuing the Line focuses on the socio-cultural practice of standing/waiting in line in two different historical contexts: twentieth-century communist societies and contemporary capitalist societies (as well as societies turned capitalist after the collapse of communism).

At the same time, this self-reflexive artwork explores the relation between form and content, as well as various processes of meaning-making, as put into play by techniques of remixing. Along these lines, Cuing the Line is also a poetic meditation on time and history as constructed and experienced by the subject in its existence between individuality and collectivity, between the personal and the political.

At yet another level, this remix is inspired by and to some extent appropriates the ideas underlying the early experiments with the art of remixing by the Surrealists. As Eli Horwatt notes, the "tradition of conjoining two films together can be traced back to some of the earliest Surrealist experiments with cinema, specifically those by Andre Breton. ... Breton's game was meant to aid in creating radical combinations of images and in many ways is a precursor to American Surrealist Joseph Cornell's landmark found footage film Rose Hobart (1935). ... The Surrealist use of shocking juxtapositions had incredible humorous power in their hallucinatory elocution through chance encounters between cut out words or through methods of automatic writing. Max Ernst described this method as the 'coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a place which apparently does not suit them'" (Horwatt, 2010: 83-4). Thus, however surprising and perhaps accidental the mysterious appearance of Salvador Dali in the Line might seem, it in fact has its rightful place in the piece.

Process

Overall, the process of creating Cuing the Line entailed considerable experimentation with both image and sound.

For the audio component, I used found sound effects (from the Internet) related to the drawing and writing of lines (such as "pencil write multiple hard" and "chalk sidewalk draw on cement long stroke"). I edited this material with Audacity.

I used Snapz Pro X to capture footage of people waiting in line in communist societies from the second half of the twentieth century and in contemporary capitalist societies (most of the footage was available on YouTube). I used the same application to capture selections from the CBS game-show, "What's my line?", that had Salvador Dali as special guest. Some of the footage I used in this remix is available here:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_xTFSjst9M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37bWxM_BtGQ

Salvador Dali on "What's My Line?": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhs19idm6rM

What is everyone standing in line for??: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH-U3Jf4Zww

I used Final Cut Pro to edit all the appropriated material and create the final product.

References:

Horwatt, Eli. "A Taxonomy of Digital Video Remixing: Contemporary Found Footage Practice on the Internet." In Cultural Borrowings: Appropriation, Reworking, Transformation. Ed.Iain Robert Smith, 2010.

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