REM: Cryptomnesia

One of the many reasons that we are constantly re-telling stories that have already been told is a phenomenon known as ‘cryptomnesia‘. A lot of the time we re-use stories and tropes consciously as certain ideas sell well and because frankly, everything has already been done before. On other occasions, similarities can be found within content that is not consciously copied or replicated from content that already exists – however this may not simply be a ‘coincidence’. We each keep memories at the back of our brains that we forget about or repress. Sometimes, these memories reappear, but we don’t realise them as the memories they are – instead we believe they are new experiences or thoughts. So if we come up with an idea that we eventually realise already existed, there is a chance we have a memory of the already existing story that we forgot about.

This is arguably one reason as to why films, tv shows and books seem to be ripping off, or even ‘plagiarising’ other works that existed before them. While it is undeniable that the media industry is purposefully re-using old content (the most obvious examples being Disney using old fairytales and Marvel or DC films adapting comic books), there are a lot of less-obvious, subtle similarities to old works that may not have been intentional. Funnily enough, as a society we seem to think that completely re-creating old ideas in the form of ‘adaptation’ is okay, but accidentally finding small similarities to other works is not.

It all comes down to the fact that everything has been done already. In some cases, we may never know the exact extent as to which an idea we come up with is ‘original’ or not.

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REM: Completely Remixed Video

In order to ‘deeply affect some imagery and audio’ to such a level that it becomes unrecognisable and ‘original’, I decided I would repeat one clip over and over, each time with different effects. I used Snow White freaking out for less than a second and duplicated her (originally about 25 times but later almost 100 times), then played around with the rotation, colours, opacity and various distortion effects, layering them over the top of each other until it got really weird. I liked that it looked abstract and glitchy, but it was still distinguishable as an edited Snow White video. This is the point in where I liked my work and thought it was pretty damn cool – I uploaded it HERE. Since it was still recognisable as Disney’s footage, I blurred all of the video to different degrees according to each section. The result of this is HERE. I then realised it was supposed to be 30 seconds at least, so I continued to play around with it and stretched some of the footage and blurred it even more until it was the right length.

The audio is taken from Disney’s Cinderella. I reversed it, distorted it with a ‘delay’ and continuously changed the pitch throughout the sound clip. It’s kinda jarring to listen to now, but it’s very different to how it was in the beginning. To be honest, I’m not in love with the final product. I believe I was successful, as I experimented so much that Premiere continuously crashed, however as happy as I am with the result, it’s not attractive and I don’t like to watch it.

REM: Clearly remix is subjective

In class we watched a video called ‘Gimme The Mermaid’ created by American experimental music band, Negativland. We were instructed to write a post on Negativland, however there is really nothing I want to say about them except for how much I dislike their work. This video in particular was weird, trippy, and extremely unsettling. The sound is so incredibly unpleasant to a level that makes me scrunch up my face and the visuals are just as confusing and creepy. I have no idea what it’s trying to convey, if anything at all. I watched some of their other ‘music videos’ and although they weren’t as horrifying as Gimme The Mermaid, they all had the same eerie, disconcerting atmosphere to them.

Upon further research I found that one of their ideas was ‘culture jamming’, which the idea in itself makes sense. Using media to comment on media culture itself, is something I can understand, since it’s fairly obvious that we conform to a world that is exposed nonstop to brands, advertisements and propaganda. Their website also says that they use ‘corporately owned mass culture’ to ‘suggest things that they never intended to’, which I think is cool. Taking things and turning them on their head is something I find interesting and entertaining. So I can appreciate to an extent the cleverness of Negativland, but I just can’t seem to rearrange my mind frame and remove it from the uncanny valley. No matter how creative they are, their videos are far too creepy for my liking – so much so that I’m not even embedding it on my blog. Here is a YouTube playlist if you want to see their work.

REM: Sound 3 – Hurricane

I’ve been remixing other people’s content this entire time, so I thought I’d have a go at remixing my own. This is a mashup of 2 songs – both titled ‘Hurricane’ – one by Panic! At The Disco and one by Greg Parker & Joe Bell that happens to be a cover of 30 Seconds to Mars‘s song (so this is a remix of a remix). The quality of my voice is questionable but it was much more pleasant to edit because I could make sure the tempo was the same each time I made another recording. Everything here is my voice except for the beat, which was just me playing around with a coffee tin. I didn’t fix the levels properly so it’s a little harsh to listen to, but I’m happy with the way it matches up. I had a good go at harmonies and I like how they sound. This could have been better if there was more background sound or a piano melody but I did what I could with my limited musical ability.

REM: Video 2 – Until Dawn

I’m really amused by the idea of trying to match up and compliment two very different or conflicting things. For this video I took the trailer from the new PS4 horror game Until Dawn and changed the footage and gameplay to excerpts from Disney movies (specifically – Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Hercules, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty). I chose this game because it terrifies me, and I wondered if I could keep it scary by remixing it with something as cheerful and upbeat as Disney movies. I replaced the original 8 Until Dawn characters with the characters of these films and I matched up the actions to the audio. I did my best to find Disney footage that replicated the game exactly, but when it comes to heads being chopped off and bodies being dragged, one has to improvise. The bright and colourful Disney was a huge juxtaposition to the dark and eerie horror game, so I changed the colours and brightness and added lots of effects. It’s missing the blood and gore that Until Dawn does really well, so it doesn’t quite reach the ‘scary’ potential I would like it to. However – it’s only a short video and I think the point comes across.

REM: Image 3 – Mother Nature

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The aim of this image was to make one of Alphonse Mucha’s lovely ladies look powerful and intimidating. I know that symbolically, if you put a picture of someone on top of a globe, it makes them seem like they’re either in charge of said world, or are fighting to protect it. I tried to achieve this power image by tilting ‘The Rose‘ so that she is towering over the globe – which I edited to try and make it look like a painting. I used flowers from some of his other paintings to surround her with nature. In the end I’m not sure how powerful she looks, however I like the idea that she is Mother Nature – in control of everything natural on Earth.

REM: Video 1 – too original

I went a little crazy with this remix. I found a bunch of videos people had uploaded on YouTube with masks they had created themselves from anime, so it gave me the idea of utilising them and remixing them into an anime music video (AMV) for this assignment. I chose the song Too Original by Major Lazer because it happens to be a song I’m into at the moment and I thought that it would be a little ironic if it was the name of a video I made with very little original content. The only parts that I actually created myself were the colourful moving backgrounds and the shadows and edits attached to the characters. I figured it would be bit of a challenge to try and match up Japanese anime with an electronic/reggae band – and I was right.

This video was a lot of fun to make until Premiere started continuously crashing towards the end – which was probably because of the large amount of layers and effects I was using. I keyed the backgrounds out of the already-existing masks and made some of my own with ultra keys, colour keys, and garbage mattes. I played around with position and scale of motions to try and always keep things moving. There was a lot of cropping and I used about 35 different anime – the majority of which I wasn’t a stranger to. Even though the video is all over the place, it does still sort of stick to the rhythm, so I’m happy with how it turned out.

REM: Sound 2 – Faith

George Michael’s 1987 hit ‘Faith’ literally never fails to cheer me up and make me smile. I don’t know what it is about the song but it’s close to my heart. I wondered if I would still love the song as much if I were to spend hours remixing it, and decided to put it to the test. (The answer was actually ‘yes’ – I still love it.)
I repeated the first two bars of the song over and over and decided to put five other 90’s and early 00’s songs with it. Some tracks worked better than others in this remix, and I struggled with the tempo changes, again. They’re all songs I used to play too often when I was younger, so I find this to be a very nostalgic remix.

REM: Sound 1 – Cluster

This was my first attempt at remixing sound for this assignment. I basically just imported a bunch of songs I like into Audacity and tried to link them together with drum beats I found. It was harder than I thought it would be to make the tempo of the songs match up. I loved how Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy sounded with a beat, as it sorta mixes my love for classical with my love to dance to house music. After that however, it got a little messy. I’ve always been a fan of a good buildup and beat drop, so I tried to incorporate that and lead it to El Tango De Roxanne – which I also thought sounded pretty cool with drums. Then I placed other tracks (7 all up) in between to try and make it flow. I’m not sure how well it works to be honest, but regardless, it can definitely be described as a ‘cluster’ of my favourite songs.

REM: Image 2 – Gender Swap

I figured that if I was gonna remix stuff, I might as well draw inspiration from the things I love. Disney films have been a huge part of my life, so I decided I wanted to change the look of one of my favourite films – and ultimately I came up with the idea of gender-swapping Peter and Wendy from Disney’s 1953 film ‘Peter Pan’. In order to do this, I had to change their hair, facial structure, facial features and clothing – which I accomplished with the brush tool, clone stamp tool, and a lot of layers. I based them on each other’s composition, for example female-Peter’s lips use Wendy’s colouring, and male-Wendy’s eyebrows copy Peter’s structure. It wasn’t an easy task, but I’m happy with the outcome.

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Peter (left) was a bit more difficult than Wendy (right). Despite having to fix the background, it’s much easier to crop hair than to add more on, and his eye caused me a bit of trouble. Apparently masculine features are difficult to make feminine. Also I’m a bit in love with Wendy’s adorably short haircut, not gonna lie.

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Here’s the original for comparison. (Click for better quality on both images)