Scrap: Making Propaganda Movies at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology

I was just talking with a colleague about the NMC’s Online Conference on Web Video, via Alan, and it reminded me of a quite cool project designed by Jim Spadacinni over at Ideum. The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology has a new virtual exhibit, the American Image, that features the work of John Collier Jr., the 1930s and 40s photographer. This very cool site not only uses a flickr mash-up to display the collection of Collier’s public domain images, but it also features a Propaganda Filmmaker. It’s amazing how quick and easy it has become for visitors to fashion their own video narratives by dragging and dropping some thumbnails. I contributed my own 2 cents, see the video below, and it took me all of about 5 minutes.




So, as we are currently thinking through a proposal for the NMC over here at UMW, we started to knock around the idea of how the very nature of composition across the disciplines might change in light of these new ways to construct video-based narratives without the overhead of Avid, Final Cut Pro, or some of the other professional video editing tools. And with the access to unbelievable footage via archive.org (and other resources), are we ready to start re-thinking the nature of composition on our campus? You can write papers, sure, but you can also author Vapers (or video papers) -tapping into another medium for creating meaning through formal elements such as juxtaposition, syntax, and style. Hmmmm, do we see a paper proposal (“Vapers: notes towards the future of interdisciplinary composition”) in all of this?

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7 Responses to Scrap: Making Propaganda Movies at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology

  1. Alan says:

    Bring it on, a great presentation idea! The range of web based video creation tools seems rather underused, understated, in academia. Bring on the JumpCuts, the Video mixer apps!

  2. jimgroom says:

    Becausse you can sing it, we will bring it. Thanks for the encouragment, Alan, I think you’re dead on, the tools are there already, they just need an occasion to be framed appropriately for academia -enter NMC’s Web Video conference.

  3. Gardner says:

    And there’s one proposal from UMW already in the NMC hopper–keepin’ my fingers crossed on that one.

  4. Jim Spadaccini says:

    Thanks for the mention here. You may be interested in blog post I did a few weeks ago, Online video editors and Web 2.0 video sites. We’re working on new and much improved version of the flash video editor–this one using NASA video assets.

  5. This approach represents the future of online content delivery – especially given the rash of litigation related to content delivery.

    We have seen copyright news of Google in Europe, Viacom, the Smithsonian licensing its images to Corbis and YouTube receiving its weekly cease-and-desist. The problems with these cases, is not the devlivery mechanism (Web 2.0 tools) but rather the source materials and content.

    Archives and Museums, as the maintainers of public domain images and cultural content, stand at the nexus between the content and distribution/public dispursement. Once the tools of creation have been turned over to the people to propagate and distribute as they like (via blogs, email, personal websites) the content itself is freed from the hegemony of the platform, the institution and the limitations of the geographically-determined audience. Think the long tail writ large…

  6. jimgroom says:

    Chris,

    I love it, particularly this:

    Once the tools of creation have been turned over to the people to propagate and distribute as they like… the content itself is freed from the hegemony of the platform, the institution and the limitations of the geographically-determined audience.

    You just don’t get comments like that often enough. Framing museums and Archives as highly politicized, and potentially liberating, institutions is essential to allowing the public the ability to work through authoring, quoting and more generally interpreting our multi-mediated past. What strikes me here, is that universities are not, at least directly, coupled with these two. And I, for one, think I know why -very few universities have actually taken the initiative to push the unbelievable importance of teaching students how to interpret, critique, and/or author, in a number of mediums using a variety of tools. Museums and Archives may be the gatekeepers for such resources, but it is up to universities (if they plan on being relevant in the next 50 years) to re-frame their curriculum in light of these developments. How are we asking students to author, quote, research, etc., at our universities? Moreover, how much have universities invested in making their own private collections of rare books, manuscripts, etc. accessible to the public? I really think that acknowledging and wrestling with these questions is the key to defining a transitional vision for the future of the university over the next decade.

  7. Pingback: And He Blogs » Online Video Editors

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