Film: Multimedia MSG

by Beauchamp Art

Multimedia MSG [AV]

Multilayered video of a scrolling message on the information overload, written in the early hours of the morning on a mobile phone using a keypad with predictive text, filmed directly from the screen an overlaid onto itself at various scales and speeds to blur together the transcript, so only the first few lines are momentarily visible:

The threat of the overload takes us hostage, so we hand over our money, and with social media, draw our peers into the trap Slowly developing a Stockholm Syndrome sympathy for our captives.

The transcript of the original text was use to write a short piece on the information overload, which was partially used as the preface for my dissertation, although here this war written in a more editorial style, margining on the prophetic ramblings referenced within the text of the monologues of the character of Howard Beale in the 1976 film, The Network, directly quoting the passage:

“Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone” [The Network, 1976]

This piece was made at the opening of the project, dealing with the some of the issues in the extended essay, but in a fairly literal manner. It was filmed a few days after writing the text, but was filmed at around the same time in the morning so that the clock in at the bottom of the screen would display a similar time to when it was film, and the context in which it was being recording would relate further to nightmarish hour it was written. Alongside this was the file size of the message, only 5.1kB, but still containing a fair quantity of information on that scale.

Multimedia MSG [AV] [Stills] - 07

Multimedia MSG [Stills]

The title comes from the format of the SMS, as it was over four, 180 character, messages long, it became a ‘Multimedia msg’, and this seemed as fitting a title as any, given its content, and the allusion to McLuhan’s idiom, “The medium is the message” [McLuhan, 1964; 129]. This could be argued to be incarnate in this video, as the message content is inextricably tied to the format, the medium of the message, so one informs the other in a structuralist feedback loop, with a Pop-art hyperbolising of the media. The audio was a combination of the background sound whilst recording (mostly the radio), and a heavily distorted multilayering of Aphex Twin’s remix of Popcorn, to reflect the sense of frantic scrolling.


 

References:

  • McLuhan, Marshall (1964) Understanding Media. 1994 Edition. Routledge. Great Britain.
  • The Network. (1976) [Film] Dir: Lumet, Sidney. Writ: Chayefsky, Paddy. Prod: Gottfried, Howard; Caruso, Fred C. Ontario, Canada / NY USA. Cited from IMDB [Online] <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu&gt; Accessed 3.4.2015
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