Archive for the ‘improv everywhere’ Tag

Mom! My Body’s Gone Video

It’s some weird science. But it must be as popular as happy-slapping these days.

Improv Everywhere have been zapping reality with orchestrated human video effects – slow motion, freeze frame – and watching their latest work it clicked. That’s 3. A trend?

I’d say Michel Gondry has something to do with it. Be Kind Rewind aired the idea feature-length for the mainstream, and music videos – beyond Gondry’s – were making up the rules before.

Manipulating reality to mimic a video effect now requires more skill and effort than making a film. Orchestrating a “cinematic moment” live, and generating the precision of an edited film spontaneously… Well that technique’s alive in the commercial world after Honda’s Difficult is Worth Doing TV spot.

There’s a few key characteristics to this as a trend, if you could call it that:

1. Liveness

2. Real people

3. A real context

4. Mass participation

5. Precise results

I much prefer Improv Everywhere to its commercial progeny, and you should peep their excellent blog for the full range of their playful anarchy. It’s more compelling because of point (3) – it has a real context.

The participants are larger in number (see point 4). But it’s more important that they’re volunteers. They choose to be there because they want to be there. And as long as you’re paying people to do something, and controlling the environment, it’s not a real context.

Gondry? That’s art. That isn’t live or real – but it more than makes up for it with its inventiveness and dedication to point (5) – blissful, beautiful precision.

What’s your take on this as a trend? Do you agree with these characteristics, or have I left my lens cap on here?

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At Home with Blood on the Tracks

Some things scare the waking shit out of commuters.

Improv Everywhere do lots of those things, including this recent stunt in Prague.

Transplant a living room onto the rush hour subway and something happens. Groggy bystanders get a little less comfortable. You’ve broken down the cosy, walled-in world of iPod shuffling and free paper flicking.

Do I want a free paper? No thanks. But chances are I’ll have to sit on one when I next board a tube in London.

The Decapitator has been lopping free papers off at the head to help save your ass. David Beckham and Motorola get the treatment here and, once again, commuters get a loud wake up call. (Thanks to Giles for the link.)

So, I put it to you: are we too headless on the underground?

What can we do to change it?