Tag Archives: E-Ternet

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.

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.