There and Back Again: Travels and Exhibitions in 2013

There were several experiences in 2013 that I did not write about until now, including some great opportunities to screen Watchmen: Midnight and talk about fanediting with academics, fans, and aca-fans alike.

April 17-19: StarFest 2013 in Denver, Colorado

StarFest is an annual science fiction and fantasy fan convention founded in 1977, making it one of the longest running fan conventions in the United States. On April 17, I led an interactive presentation on the history and methods of fanediting called “Fan Editing 101: Rip, Recut, and Remix Hollywood Cinema,” and on April 19, StarFest screened my fanedit, Watchmen: Midnight, in its entirety. Fanedits are typically screened in private homes and therefore any large public exhibition is quite rare. This was the first public screening of Watchmen: Midnight and I was happy that there was such a large attendance.

May 10-12:  BlasterCON 2013 in Los Angeles, California

I traveled to LA for the FanEdit.org panel at a science fiction fan convention called BlasterCON. Four administrators from FanEdit.org, including Neglify, L8wrtr, Reave, and Blueyoda, presented on the history of fanediting and screened excerpts from their work. This was the first public presentation by an organized fanediting community and it was great to see representatives from FanEdit.org discuss fanediting in their own words. After the organized panel presentation I screened comparative excerpts from Watchmen: Midnight for the FanEdit.org admins and enjoyed a nice exchange of ideas over the weekend.

July 4-5: MASH 2013 in Maastricht, the Netherlands

Next, I jetted to Europe for two academic conferences. The first was Making and Sharing: Conference on Audience Creativity (MASH) hosted by Maastricht University. MASH brought together scholars in fan studies and media studies with some very engaging research. For my part, I presented on fanediting and screened excerpts from Watchmen: Midnight with commentary. Following the rewarding experiences I had in Denver and LA at fan conventions, it was great to continue my tour with a presentation to an audience of academics who share close associations with fans and their work. I especially enjoyed the respective keynotes by Kristina Busse and George Landow, as well as Tisha Turk‘s presentation on authorship and production methods in vidding.

Also on my panel, Shannon Brownlee presented her excellent mashup video, Battleship Isildur, which combines footage The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and Battleship Potemkin (1925) in a nearly seamless recontextualization of the miserable Orcs of Mordor. Suffering under the rule of Saruman, the Orcs produce a champion who calls on them to rise up against their oppressors and defend the innocent citizens of an city. Scenes from Sergei Eisenstein’s original film, such as the Odessa steps confrontation, are frequently excerpted for film studies courses and textbooks as exemplary in their application of parallel cutting and juxtaposition. However, Brownlee’s Battleship Isildur adds further dimensions to that scene and tests the limits of parallel action in an altogether fascinating narrative experiment.

July 29-August 2: Repeat-Remix-Remediate in Hamburg, Germany

The second leg of my visit to Europe was Repeat-Remix-Remediate: Modes and Norms of Digital Repurposing, a week-long symposium hosted by the Research Center of Media and Communication at Universität Hamburg. Structured like a summer school for a select group of PhD students in media studies, the program featured keynote presentations by international scholars, interactive workshops, and screenings, as well as excursions throughout the city, including a visit to Studio Hamburg ARD. There were many highlights from this event, including keynotes from Mirko Tobias Schäfer, Nishant Shah, and Allison Eden. Among the student delegates, Owen Gallagher and Martin Leduc provided some of my favorite presentations, both with a focus on critical remix videos.

Post-conference, many of the delegates from Repeat-Remix-Remediate collaborated to a symposium blog. My contribution, And Wilhelm Screamed: “Can I Get An Amen?” is a brief reflection on repurposed audio samples in film and music.

During my panel, I was provided with ample time to introduce fanediting to the audience of faculty and graduate students and screened comparative scenes from Watchmen: Midnight. After my formal presentation, I continued the exhibition of my fanedit in a video gallery that was specially installed for the week’s activities. My gratitude to the organizers of Repeat-Remix-Remediate, especially Andreas Stuhlmann and Uwe Hasebrink, for assembling such an exciting and hospitable program.

Credit to Owen Gallagher for the following photos: