• Subverted Intentions and the Potential for “Found” Collectivity in Natalie Bookchin’s Mass Ornament

    Author(s):
    Jaimie Baron (see profile)
    Date:
    2011
    Group(s):
    Documentary Studies, Film-Philosophy, Film Studies
    Subject(s):
    Found footage, Appropriation
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Natalie Bookchin, Siegrfried Kracauer, archival footage, experimental film, video art
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/x34b-n904
    Abstract:
    This paper explores the ways in which Natalie Bookchin’s video loop installation entitled Mass Ornament (2009) both replicates and diverges from the notion of the mass ornament articulated by Siegfried Kracauer in the 1930s. By appropriating YouTube videos of many anonymous amateurs dancing alone in their homes and synchronizing them so that the dancers seem to dance together, Bookchin’s video subverts the individualistic intentions apparent in the video for a previously unintended collective purpose. In doing so, her video reveals both the tendencies toward conformity within these individual videos as well as the contingent, everyday details of each video that marks its difference from all of the others. In addition, Mass Ornament points to the potential for a kind of “found” collectivity, since this ornament – unlike those of the Tiller Girls examined by Kracauer, which was constructed from above – lay dormant within the digital archive of YouTube until another user – in this case, Bookchin – “found” and revealed it. Thus, Bookchin’s film acknowledges both the dystopian and utopian promise of both digital media and the collaborative, digital archives of the Internet.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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