Category Archives: A Complicated Web of Papers and Lies

I Don’t Talk About Music: The Musical

Let’s have a conversation!

Okay!

YOU.

No, YOU.

Okay… me.

For those of you who are following the journey of The Tape, the above was Andrew’s summation of what this “conversation” has been.  For those who have followed my analyses of the past entries, you know that for the most part I’ve been seeing them as a way of visualizing the internet itself.  Well, that is until “Missing“.  With Missing we started a new conversation, marked both by the overwhelming honesty of it and how deeply personal the film was to Andrew.  This was also marked because the old tape, the one with “I Got the Poops” to “Powerful Magics” on it that was inscribed with wacky magical runes and everything was destroyed.

This new conversation took me by surprise.  I had planned for a lot of thing in between Powerful Magics and Missing, but I hadn’t planned on that.  I hadn’t planned on something personal.  How would I respond?  Clearly a lot of the more wacky ideas I had come up with wouldn’t work, clearly I couldn’t just mirror and refract like I did before.  So then how?  By making something personal.

Before you watch the video below, I must warn you that it’s deeply personal and explicit.  For those of you who wish to watch my films and be interested in my genre explorations and digital experimentation that’s perfect and wonderful, but this is not a video for you.  This is a video for anyone who wants to truly know more about me as a human. You may continue at your own choosing and your own risk.


I Don’t Talk About Music: The Musical from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I don’t like talking about myself, and the very idea that you’ve just watched half an hour that’s all about me is something that a part of me finds disgusting.  However to respond any other way but personally would be to disregard Missing, and it would be to disregard Andrew.  That was something I didn’t want.  But IDTAM:TM is more than a simple need to reply to a video that one person will see.  This correspondence, though presumably just between Andrew and I, has always been open and these videos are always available for anyone to see.  So why make a video that I find deeply uncomfortable and whose subject matter deeply bothers me if I know it will be seen?  1) I’m not 100% sure this will be seen; and 2) Because I need to say this.  I needed to make this video.  Now that it’s released I’m not going to lie and say that I’m Okay, but I feel like I can start moving forward.

So now, let’s move into looking at what this film is.  And it’s a bit of a mess.  I have hours and hours of footage related to this project on my computer, enough to probably make an entirely different movie about an entirely different subject matter.  Going into the reply I knew that I’d answer Andrew’s plea for “The Truth”, but for me there’s a reason I don’t like telling the whole truth: It’s painful.  It’s painful because the Truth, so much as it exists (and one of the things I’ve been coming to realize is that truth is something very ill-defined), is that as difficult as these past years have been for Andrew they’ve also been difficult for me.  Going back to CSF, graduating, working several minimum-wage jobs, getting shouted at and demeaned by 12 year-olds — things haven’t been going my way.  I don’t know if this is “true” or “false”, or rather I’m not sure how much of this is out of my control and how much of this is my own attitude towards events that have happened.   So life is messy. Life is complicated. Life is sad,  Life is something I haven’t really ever been prepared for.

So naturally I’ve been thinking about ending life.  This was the truth.  This was what I would look at. This would be my Self-Portrait.

So why the mess?  Part of this is the problem presented in the film itself: I’m tasked with replying to a film, so if I throw out everything about the previous entries and the means of communication that we’ve set up then I wouldn’t be replying to it.  But If I were to just copy the structure of Missing then I wouldn’t be staying true and I would lose the point.  It was a damned if I do, Damned if I don’t scenario, and as always when I come the clearing with two paths I decided to take the road never traveled and make my own.  I decided to do both.  After all, this is a Self-Portrait, and one of the things I can tell you about me, the true me, is that I’m a self-contradictory mess.  There are plenty of nods to “Missing” in this piece, from the very opening mirror (I had a better sync up where my face was exactly half of Andrew’s, but I think it came at the wrong part of the song? Maybe the camera ran out of batteries?), to the shot of Andrew walking around alone with headphones in, to the cinematic montage of exploration, to the very idea of having personal log entries scattered throughout.  This was a reply to Missing.  It’s also a companion piece to Powerful Magics.  Look at it this way: If Powerful Magics is the Great and Powerful Oz, then IDTAM:TM is the Man Behind the Curtain.  Powerful Magics was about, among other things, putting on a show and showing off expertise and- perhaps one of the main things- magic.  IDTAM:TM Mirrors a lot of the segmented nature and jumping around that Powerful Magics did, hell it even has a musical breakdown in the middle of it and an experimental deconstruction.  You can even go all the way back to the first pair of videos in this correspondence for references in IDTAM:TM with the reintroduction of Pokemon and Disney films into the discussion.  There are plenty of cosmetic and structural references to the prior pieces all over IDTAM:TM, to the point where it can very well be argued that I did nothing but remix and regurgitate everything that came before.  Gimmicks abound in this piece.

It’s also one of the most outwardly honest and open pieces I’ve made and probably ever will make.  It’s a half-hour straight of a straightforward discussion of my insecurities as a filmmaker and a person and how those insecurities came to be.  It’s a discussion of the idea of friendship and connection and how it has been a topic of pain for me, especially in these past few years.  This film is where we finally confront the 800 pound gorilla that has always been looming around this discussion (at least for me), which is the closing of CSF and how exactly that effected me, in the short and long term.  The Closing of CSF is something I’m still working through, and it’s not because of the loss of the school.  It’s the loss of friendship I experienced as a side-effect of it.  It’s the painful reality that we all have to face sooner or later: People move on; and for me it seems like people move on a lot more often.  The point of this film is also to explore why this betrayal hit me so hard: because I’ve never felt like I belong in this world, even though by all accounts I should.  To tell the story of my isolation, the school closing, it’s reverberations to this day I had to skip over a few decades worth of explanations as to my actions.  But again, this is meant to be a portrait, not a biography.  But in terms of leading to the climax: my thoughts of suicide and finally going on mood stabilizing medication, the story is very linear and paced out rather well.

But this is also a self-portrait, shaped by individual style and how I see the world.  It’s a world of chaos.  A world where dominoes are carefully set up then stomped on and destroyed, falling in ever more complex patterns.  Mine is a world where I am the video game villain, the mastermind who has little motivation for wanting to ruin everything except for “Thing just didn’t work out”.  Mine is a world where reality can be ripped apart, and throughout the piece the moments of data bending, of sync errors, of dead pixels and duplicating images, they all come together in these moments of stylistic flourish.  They’re also all very deliberate.  True, the sync errors were a constant problem I ran into when exporting this project, but it was something that I could and did fix if needed.  But the dissonance between sound and picture and the removal experienced by the blinks to grey are there to communicate the delicate chaos of our world: One error and we blink to grey.  One blip of code and suddenly what you see as life and what you experience (hear) as life are out of sync, and you do what you can to fix it.  Every moment of pixellation and of bending also serve this point: peeling away layers and exposing these images for the conglomeration of RGB that they are.

Finally, we come to the Jellyfish.  This was come of the most beautiful footage I ever shot, and there’s always an otherworldly elegance to the Jellyfish.  Elegance, danger, and mystery all combine in the nature of the jellyfish in their movement, their sting, and their biology.  They are an ancient creature which has survived through millennia lacking the one organ that I feel defines life: The brain.  So do the jellyfish here represent stupidity, mystery, timelessness, beauty, reaction, survival, or danger?  It’s all that and more depending on where the footage is used and how it’s used, and yes this openness is very much planned.So with all this conflicting structure and conflicting ideas it’s no wonder that the final piece is a mess, and that’s okay.  It’s okay because I think in the end it accomplished all I wanted it to, mainly showing what these six years or so have been like for me in between Powerful Magics and IDTAM:TM.  Because these past few years have been messy.  But I’m starting to be okay with that, and putting this together was a big part in getting here.


So that’s that.  Look forward to a bit of a write-up on how exactly I went about crafting a package for this piece, and I promise that will be a bit closer to my usual analysis of form and how to incorporate references to prior packages and pieces in a meaningful way.  I may also do one final write-up on the state of The Journey of the Tape up until this point.

If you’re interested in Andrew’s thoughts on this piece, I will link to it HERE when it goes live.

As a closing remark, though, I can’t help but feel Andrew got his summation of our conversation wrong.  He’s been ignoring context and a lot of space around the pieces.  Here’s how it’s felt to me:

Are You Okay? (I Got the Poops)

Yeah, Sure! (In Fridge)

Well, Good. Things looked a bit bleak there. (Happy Birthday, Murderer!)

Of Course I’m Okay.  Maybe you’re not Okay! (Powerful Magics)

You’re right. I don’t think I am. (Missing)

Well neither am I.  Sorry. (I Don’t Talk About Music: The Musical)

 

VATAS: Epostode 15

This episode of VATAS was already featured on the New Henceblog when we were talking about Andrew’sHappy Birthday Murderer” segment of THE TAPE.  But, when it was posted before it was only available on the Henceforth Vimeo not (as we all can plainly see now) on the Henceforth YouTube.  So, let’s go ahead and watch this Epostode again and see how it holds up when compared to the other fifteen episodes of VATAS:

Epostode 15 on YouTube

Okay. So first, let’s clear this up: This isn’t an episode of VATAS.  It fits much more into the realm of the Complicated Web of Papers and Lies, and  there’s not much to link this episode to the others.  Which is a strange thing to say, as VATAS episodes have been shown to be surprisingly versatile, however what I feel separates this from other episodes is that it’s surprisingly focused and straightforward.  We don’t cut around as much, the titles aren’t as obtrusive, and  we don’t have many off moments of “THE TIE IS FAKE”.  This is much more of a documentation, a way of showing a package that would soon be torn up and capturing my reaction to said package on video, much like THE BOX earlier this year.  So Epostode 15 is a very unVATAS VATAS episode, but does that detract from the enjoyment of the video?  No. I don’t think so.  I think my palpable excitement over the package comes through, I think even though the video is pretty dark all of the important pieces of the package were featured well, and the sound is also a massive step up from some of the other episodes we’ve seen.

Thus, although Epostode isn’t very much like a VATAS episode, I still rather enjoy it.  But what about YOU? Do you think this deserves a place among the ranks of VATAS?

Missing

All I want is the truth. That’s how “Missing” begins, and it greatly lives up to that hope: It’s one of the most honest and personal films I think Andrew has ever made, and I greatly appreciate that.

Let’s back up, then, because it’s been around three and a half years since the Tape was last sent.  In those years, I spent plenty of time thinking about how I’d next reply. I even had footage shot and ready (Fun Fact: Most of these failed ideas were later compiled into “No!”).  As the years dragged on (and this isn’t fair, but it happened) it would be harder and harder for Andrew to come up with a decent enough reply. And so what was I looking for?

  1. The next installment had to explain why I had waited for so long.
  2. It had to be worth the wait.

Despite not being a very long list, it was a tall order to live up on Andrew’s part. And “Missing” wholly delivers.  There is only one part of the film that directly references “Powerful Magics” (and, by extension, the rest of the Tape‘s complicated web) and that’s when we see Andrew’s reflected face in the television (and, yes, the part where his face syncs up to his face was a nice touch).  Besides this, “Missing” doesn’t go along the lines of other Tape replies.  It throws any cheeky meta-references to YouTube out the window, it doesn’t attempt to counterpoint or ape anything from the previous installment, instead “Missing” simply IS. And that’s something that, during these past few years, I haven’t been expecting.

There are plenty of ways that I can talk about how this film still fits into the ongoing narrative of the tape and how its a microcosm for the internet, and I could probably pick it apart bit-by-bit and tell you how it actually does mirror everything else in the tape, but I think that would only destroy part of “Missing”‘s power (also, I don’t I would actually be able to do that last part).

Now that it’s my turn again, I have much the same feeling as Andrew did after watching “Powerful Magics”: I’m not quite sure what to do or how to reply. One thing’s for sure, all of the thinking I was doing and all the digging into internet memes is now void.  “Missing” is too good to get a reply similar to anything I’ve sent before, and so it’s time for a new strategy.

So now the old tape is dead, and with it comes an end.  “Missing” signifies a new letter, still between the same two people, but the game has been changed and I think that’s for best.

Vvinni Gagnepain’s THE BOX

I bet you all knew something was up when I posted the four Tape videos all in row.  Well, now you can see for yourself. What we all thought was long over and buried has come back from the depths of it’s yellowed jelly hell and back into our waking world.  Here is Andrew’s latest package with THE TAPE:

Vvinni Gagnepain’s THE BOX from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

The Tape had to die. I realize this, and although included in that object are years of heartbreak, passion, and vengeance, it had to go.  Otherwise, we’d just continue the cycle of destruction.  So: Included in the package, then, were a few other recordable devices:  The first was the wax figure I was cutting into before the postal service got to me.  Inside of that was was a whole lot of foil and a memory stick that had been stripped of its casings.  I was greatly excited: Now that the tape was dead, we were moving on to sending this stick back and forth to each other (which provided a lot more hiding opportunities, as shown by the wax).  But, no. Instead it was a poop video.

This wasn’t it, was it?  I had waited around three and a half years for Andrew’s reply, and he gives me a poop movie that lasts a few minutes?  I was distraught and angry, but I had some bit of resolution when I came across the piece of cardboard that the cake (which you couldn’t see, but it read “I AM DEAD” in wonderful frosting letters): “NOT YET, SOON” it read.  Okay, so pretty soon I was going to get another package from Andrew. Good, so I’ll just eat these cookies and wait.

Soon...
Not Yet.

Well, there was another surprise in ANOTHER cookie (Yes, Andrew Gingerich is a devious sort): More foil, this time including a Mini SD card.  I still don’t know what’s on the mini SD card. I’ve tried a Mini SD card reader, a Mini SD adapter, and a Mini SD slot in a tablet.  The card never reads.

Finally, beneath the chocolate cake, there was another video tape.  But it was Home Alone 3, with the recordable tab of VHS tapes taken out.  So I figured I’d gotten a free copy of Home Alone 3, and I would just wait for next package. Days went by. I got tired of waiting. I figured Andrew had to have included the Mini SD adapted in the package somewhere, and I just had to find it. So where wasn’t I looking? At that point I had eaten all of the cookies and the part of the cake I could (The bottom part was covered in inedible ink), so I dug through my trash through the parts of the cake that I threw away: Nothing. Okay. There was one part of the package that just wasn’t adding up: Home Alone 3.  But it had to be Home Alone 3, there was no way Andrew could have recorded over it, which meant one thing: ANDREW HAD HIDDEN THE MINI SD ADAPTER INSIDE OF THE TAPE.  I took out my screwdriver and got work on opening the VHS casing.  Well, one of the screws stuck and I was impatient, so I ended up breaking open the VHS and sifting through it. Nothing. I had just destroyed my copy of Home Alone 3.

THe VHS of Home Alone 3 inside of a cake.
A Tape baked into cake.

It turns out, and this seems like a massive design flaw in the VHS, that if you just put some tape over the tab area of a VHS (even if the tab has been taken out, thus rendering it unrecordable) then you can record onto said VHS. And that’s exactly what Andrew did: He re-dubbed the saga of THE TAPE onto the Home Alone 3 VHS that I had destroyed.  Oops.

Powerful Magics

Blood had been shed. Cardboard had been eaten. A War had started. A War for…

A COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

 

Happy Birthday Murderer” was cruel. I understand that it was a joke, and I’m not saying it was anything too awful, but it was cruel. My reply wouldn’t be another try at aping style. Oh no, HE ATE MY PACKAGE AND NOW HE HAD TO PAY.  And so, for both this reason and because after murder we go into resurrection, I decided to delve into magic for the next installment of the Tape.  I got to work right away, researching alchemy and the famed philosophers stone, said to have such magical properties as giving eternal life.  I would craft a package that would be the philosophers stone, a package that would give the Tape life through the sacrifice of others through Fire, Water, and Wind.  This may not make much sense now, but once you see this taped unpacking perhaps it will:

And what of the contents of the tape?  How do you reply to such a personal attack?  Should I incorporate the theme of Magic? Should I bring back the internet/tape favorite topic of cats?  The answer to all of these questions was “Yes”.  Going off of the four components of the philosopher’s stone, I created four different replies to the tape, each using a separate segment that had been established by tape standards: One would be a direct reply/recreation of Andrew’s cooking of my package with a cooking show with shared friend Ethan Holbrook; another would be a montage/poop of YouTube videos and footage from “16 Heads and Counting”, one of Andrew’s earlier works; the third segment would be all footage that I would shoot for this specific film; the fourth and final component was sound and title work.

But was this enough?  As I said before, simply copying the format and structure of the previous installment of the tape wasn’t going to work.  The flame war had begun, and it was my move.  WHAT WAS THE BEST WAY TO DRAW BLOOD?  Simple: The thing that Andrew destroyed of mine (my work) I would destroy of his. I would pick apart and criticize and do my best to obliterate everything Andrew created.  No, wait… this was too big. Too big, and it would only cycle something as pointless as a comment battle in a chat room. Instead: I would destroy the components of the tape itself. I would turn a critical eye to “Happy Birthday Murderer” and destroy him that way.

Powerful Magics from Andrew Gingerich on Vimeo.

Okay, so not everything was about avenging a cardboard collage.  At the time of crafting “Powerful Magics” I also felt that there wasn’t as much thought in terms of structuring and treating this traveling tape like a letter in “Happy Birthday, Murderer” as I had put into the previous installment of “In Fridge” (I now recognize that this doesn’t matter in the least bit).  But through the discussions and critiques that I included in this video, the focus shifted away from specific parts and more towards the whole concept of The Tape itself: Why were we doing this? What was the point? Is it viewable by anyone else, or does it exist as a mere amusement between myself and Andrew (This comes into great play with the Ghost Critique). I became the jerk who links to scholarly articles in the midst of a comment battle just to prove to everyone that my petty point of view is right and everyone else is wrong SO THERE.

In retrospect, the ideas for making “Powerful Magics” are a bit petty and unfounded, but the video itself is still pretty strong and certainly a great chapter in my work as a whole and my more freeform film making (This was also the video that made me notice that I had a pretty good understanding of Final Cut and editing).  Andrew thought something similar (You can read his exact thoughts HERE), and the film was such a shock that the Tape has been out of circulation for about three and a half years now.  For the longest time I was putting off freeform projects, in hopes that the Tape would come and I’d include everything in the next installment.  But, as the years dragged on until present day, I’ve decided that it’s best to move on.

Perhaps some day the Tape will return, and when it does we will again get entwined in this web… this

COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

Happy Birthday, Murderer!

When I transferred “In Fridge” to the tape, I made a mistake.  I transferred over the taped version of I Got the Poops, effectively deleting it.

It was the first casualty for the next twist in… THE COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

VAT15-2

It was December, 2009. I had finished my semester at CU Boulder and I was looking forward to starting again at the newly re-opened CSF and building it back up to be the school I knew it could be.  I wasn’t looking for this, though.  “Boxco: Perfectly Ordinary Boxes for Perfectly Ordinary Human Beings” said the package I received, but a glance at who sent me this package told me that the contents of this box weren’t going to be ordinary. No, because this box was going to have The Tape somewhere inside.  Fortunately, I taped the unpackaging process and we can view it below:

VATAS: Epostode 15 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

One Onion, a few custom T-Shirts (which didn’t last that long, they faded after one wash), some accusations of me being a murderer, and a video tape.  All inside of a large box (The onion stain came off, by the way). I was excited at the fact that the tape itself was beginning to get altered, and I was also excited because this marked the first (and perhaps only) time I would be able to watch the next installment on the tape itself.  So I popped it into the VCR, and what I saw forever altered how this correspondence would continue.  Let’s watch, shall we?

Happy Birthday, Murderer! from Andrew Gingerich on Vimeo.

Yikes. I had called Andrew to inform him that “I Got the Poops” was gone directly after I deleted it, and I apologized for it, and made sure he had a digital copy so it wouldn’t be lost forever; but that wasn’t enough.  I had destroyed something he worked hard on, and so he had to do the same to me.  I was particularly fond of my infringement collage from the “In Fridge” package, and I thought it came out as a wonderful bit of ad-vomit.  Well, Andrew had to make sure it would become real vomit. At the time of first watching this, I was upset.  Not only at the package, but at how incredibly personal things had gotten: It seemed as though every bit of this video was meant to cut into my very being. Even now that I understand that something like this had to happen, I still feel like it’s a bit of overkill the depths at which this installment goes to make sure I knew I did something wrong and I would be punished for it.

Don't Go To Art School
We’ll Never Forgive You.

So, if we are continuing to think about the journey of the tape in terms of the internet, I suppose we’ve now entered into the trenches of the internet: Comment sections.  Not developed critical analysis, mind you (although I have a feeling we’re getting to that), but the rather inane, often irrelevant comments found on most YouTube videos. “Kirby scares about Scarecrows”, for example.  We see this with the dual voices talking about the same thing but never connecting in regards to the multiple heads, the continuing wishing and forgetting about Great Uncle Wilbur (or is it Webber?), and of course in the scathing blow that is the soup sequence.  Also worthy of note, is that we have finally entered into Poop territory with the “All The President’s Men” sequence (A “Poop” referring to the YouTube phenomenon wherein people take and re-edit various footage from cartoons and films, often in hope to create something much more humorous or frightening).  It’s true that Poops have been referenced in the Tape before, but this marks the first time we actually made one.

If you’d like to hear Andrew’s thoughts on this part of the Tape, click here.  Otherwise, stay tuned because the flame war is just beginning and soon it will consume this…

COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

In Fridge

How do you respond to a letter? You take certain themes, expand on them, and answer certain questions.

But how do you respond to… A COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES?

In Fridge's Box

The same way.

When I was crafting a reply to Andrew’s “I Got the Poops” there were a few ideas I latched onto: 1) The repetition of the film made it far too long (an idea I hereby recant, you made the right choice Andrew and I was wrong), 2) There was quite a lot of copyright infringement there, and 3) The chapter headings and how they vanish as mysteriously as they started.  Item 1 and Item 3 I decided to use in the contents of the Tape itself, but item 2 was what I really latched onto: This would be a piece of copyright infringement.  I had my idea, and so for the structuring of the piece I again went about it the same way you do a letter: Mirroring the structure of the letter sent and going about things one by one.  So, I split up the video into ten segments that would last around eight minutes, and after eight minutes I would play the whole thing backwards.  But, enough of my explanations of The Tape.  Instead, let’s watch it now and get back to the deconstruction later, but first, know this: There are two distinct versions of this film on Vimeo. The first version below is the version I put onto the tape, the second is the version that was on the tape that Andrew watched (there was a bit of a problem in transfer, it would seem, and that changes the viewing experience entirely).  If you have not yet seen “In Fridge” be warned, the video you chose to see first will alter how you see the other one (I prefer the one put on the tape, Andrew prefers the one that ended up on the tape). So… choose wisely, traveler, for I cannot guide you here:

In Fridge from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

 

In Fridge from Andrew Gingerich on Vimeo.

The basic structure of In Fridge is a warped mirror to I Got the Poops: We begin with some personal footage, then go to an internet phenomenon, later on we have a reference to the other filmmaker’s unpopular video blog series (“Diary of a Mad Filmmaker”, I feel, was more successful than “Vvinni’s Adventures Through Art School”), take a whacky detour with whacky titles, and go back around to do the whole thing over again before ending with a personalized message.  And here, once again, we go into one of the heavily populated oases in the vast wasteland of the internet: Copyright Infringement.  This segment of the tape was an infringement on the previous, the music (another internet favorite, thanks to David Hasslehoff) wasn’t cleared, the youtube videos were ripped, I knowingly took Andrew’s creative property and exploited it for my own nefarious purposes. Then I took this melange of copyrighted material and mushed it all together to create what would later be described as Soup.

But the theme didn’t stop with the In Fridge video, the package for the tape also had to reflect it.  It also had to be the next step in being difficult to open.  So, I created an oddly shaped cardboard enclosure, sealed that up with papier mache created from product names, logos, and copyrighted photos, and covered in red duct tape. A lot of red duct tape.  I then put this complicated box into another box that was lined with aluminum foil, more of the papier mache, and sealed off the first part of the box with a cardboard flap covered in an infringement collage:

God, Putin, and any logos/company names I could find.
God, Putin, and any logos/company names I could find.

Afterwards I sealed the whole thing up, included information for how to replicate the box, wrapped it up in a brown paper bag, and sent the tape off.  You can read Andrew’s reaction to getting the package here.

What comes next cannot be believed, so stay tuned for more from… THE COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

I Got the Poops

This is the story about a Tape. This is the story about A COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

It begins five years ago in 2008.  I was having a terrible year, what with the collapse of CSF and all, and I never expected to get anything aside from a care package from home in the mail.  I certainly wasn’t prepared for this:

The Enclosure

It was an aluminum harddrive encasement, sealed shut with duct tape.  Inside were thousands of small papers that read “NO”, and another wad of wrapped duct tape hiding a Time Cube diagram. Inside of this wad was a VHS tape. A VHS tape that would become the source of pain, vengeance, and act as a microcosm for the entirety of the internet.

There were also a bunch of sticky notes on top of the encasement. Here are a few.
There were also a bunch of sticky notes on top of the encasement. Here are a few.

This tape was the beginning of a video correspondence between myself and fellow filmmaker Andrew Gingerich, and though I could go into written depth about what was on this video I feel it better to watch it:

I Got the Poops from Andrew Gingerich on Vimeo.

This laid the foundation for the installments to come: A smorgasbord of YouTube cats, our own footage (that would both be shot specifically FOR the Tape and that we had lying around), and Public Domain music, filters, titles, digital artifact, etc.  As I said above: The Tape acts as a microcosm for the internet and its culture.  There’s a lot in this foundational video that’s kind of fun but not really engaging and some recycled meme-ing, but there are also some fantastic parts that are still triumphs (There is some fantastic sound design here that I didn’t really appreciate when I first received the package, and the 8mm footage of people walking on the beach grows into a terrifying tizzy when everyone starts walking IN SYNCH WITH EACH OTHER).

It was a noble effort and an interesting idea, and I didn’t know what to make of it or how to respond.  But I tried. I tried, and tried, and I came up with something.

For more information on the creation of the “I Got the Poops” package, you can read Andrew’s write-up on it here. Stay tuned on the Henceblog for the next chapter of… THE COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.