05 Feb 2015

Parag K Mital – Simpsons vs. Family Guy

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Mital’s video “Simpsons vs. Family Guy” is a generative reconstruction of the Simpson’s intro using objects segmented from the intro to the show Family Guy. Objects from the family guy intro are stored in a database, and matched to ones in the Simpsons intro. The video shows the original intro beside the resulting mosaic resynthesis. This piece is a part of a series of similar resynthesis videos, with titles like “Michael Jackson’s Beat it w/ Resynthesized Audio using Chris Watson” and “Concatenative Audio Synthesis of “Das Racist – Michael Jackson” using Michael Jackson album Thriller. These videos are interesting because they give the original content new, often contradictory meaning, by altering the material rather than narrative structure of the original. It seems like this kind of semiotic playfulness is lacking in a lot of generative art. I don’t think it’s necessary to show the original and the reconstructed video side by side, and Mital’s later videos forgo this presentation style. The video was made with OpenCV and openFrameworks.


Parag K Mital – Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (YouTube Smash Up)

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In this video, Mital reconstructs “Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball” (the #1 video on YouTube, at the time) using the audio and video material from YouTube’s top #2 – 10 videos. This video seems more technically sophisticated than “Simpson’s vs. Family Guy”, although Mital doesn’t include technical details in the video description. This video, along with Mital’s other YouTube reconstructions, considers the material and semiotic qualities of videos. They transmute banal, pop culture into something much surreal and intangible. Mital’s process for these SmashUp videos is strictly appropriative, and adheres to a strict scheme –– that he will synthesize the #1 video using material from #2-10 videos. Inexplicably, these videos have a handmade, rough quality to them, and they remind me of handwoven quilts or Dada collage. I think these reconstruction videos could become a whole genre, so it would be helpful if Mital included more information about his process so others could get started.