machinima — filmmaking using video game footage & voiceovers — was new to me until W&W showed me this 2-minute piece a few night’s ago… Godot-infused punchline existentialism in the theater of war. apparently Red vs Blue is a massive phenomenon, but if you haven’t seen it:

Machinima makes inevitable sense. It is economically & creatively liberating. Fantastic cinema/animation on the cheap! Episode 1 of Red vs Blue: the tip of an enormmous potential iceberg (they didn’t need those other 99 episodes, in many ways this one did all that needed to be done)…

between machinima & DIY youtubery & stuff like videojockey translators in Uganda, I’m feeling vaguely optimistic about local art & reverse Ikea & maybe even the elimination of the middleman. (& imagine these hackery concepts taken into the realm of politics, a million kid editors not making flash-in-the-pan entertainment but using their fluency in new tools to break or build things in the name of economic equality?)

Elimination of the middleman: when the story becomes not ‘talented youth get bought up by major label when their viral video sparks local dance craze’ nor ‘talented youth spark local dance craze, bypass label, get rich on micro-income from 1.7 million other kids viewing their viral video’ (although this would be an improvement) but when the story becomes not ‘the story’ (or Slate’s) but your story and the cultural heat generated by it turns into money in your pocket and they don’t even need to hear about it or attempt to explain it.

MP3s and money always travel so much more freely than people.

In a few years, most American children will live inside video games or have microchips for virtual world wireless connections implanted into their navels. Drug dealers, old people, and winos will finally get run of the parks and playgrounds they deserve. Only the poor kids will read books; rich parents won’t dare risk their children’s success in a postliterate society by teaching them to read (Brunner). The adjective ‘virtual’ itself will fall into disuse, describing a quaintly archaic and increasingly irrelevant concept.

Wayne’s delicious points towards the 1st hit when searching for “I’m a african” on youtube. big up Eka.

Blackness has always been virtually real and really virtual, so hearing Dead Prez (a virtually political music group) rap while machinima video-director Eka lip-syncs their lyrics as his Grand Theft Auto videogame edits depict what’s being said makes future-now sense:


8 thoughts on “BECKETT’S HALO”

  1. Was going to complain that microsoft has been capitalizing on this “viral” trend by using fake machinima in some ads for a while.

    Apparently, microsoft also just added a license to their games that authorizes users to make machinima with them:

    Pretty cool, actually. Not the response I would have expected from them.

  2. jace,

    . . . on the virtual reality and real virtue of blackness . . . I want to know if you’ve seen this (apologies in advance–my tagging is weak at this hour of the day):

    This Larry Wilmore piece on the Daily show wrestles with some of the same issues you deal with here, but in a comedic fashion eerily reminiscent of the minstrel show, but in a modern form of media.

    Wilmore code-switches his masks to lampoon his characters very clearly, and sadly the academics in these situations always fall for his politricks (to use a term you and w&w seem to dig–still looking for who coined that one). One more reason to get out of the stuffy office and into the blogosphere, which is why I’ve decided to mudd up!

    Dig your insight always, rup.


  3. ‘politricks’ a rasta term for babylon dem and other agents of downpression, ya overstand? it was coined by i&i, projected by reggae. it’s my preferred tag for ideological bullshit of various sorts, esp in media and govt.

    some choice turns of phrase here, jace. a great (vaguely optimistic) riff. imagination lighted!

    & far as this ethnoid is concerned, the more ethnomusicologists out there like ms. miller, the better our field will be.

  4. its funny i dont recall ever using the term ‘politricks’… although the 1st person i knew who used it regularly was Selectress Irie-La… another boston chantdown babylonian

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