This Unruly: a repository of video cut-ups

About This Unruly

This site is an evolving web repository of theory and practice related to recombinatory video appropriation practices involving video re-purposing, re-mixing, collage and cut-up techniques. The site includes examples of YouTube clips as well as a literature review of articles and academic papers, which relate to the subject. Content within the site has been organised using a provisional taxonomy that centres on formal aesthetic, creative and experimental features. In doing so this marks a departure from more conventional approaches, which generally seek to locate works according to established art historical developments and stylistic conventions.

The site was created by Dr Simon Perkins (2016) as an extension to posts, which were initially made to the site i.e. video cut-up examples and to the 'cut-ups' YouTube playlist.

Literature Review

Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World
Much of Bourriaud's 'Culture as Screenplay' attempts to make links between the work and practices of various contemporary visual artists - and in doing so tends towards a 'list' of interesting ideas. One such idea that builds on the work of the The Situationist International involves Bourriaud's discussion about 'artistic détournement' - where the reuse of existing cultural forms e.g. collage, appropriation etc. provides a means for visual artists to short-circuit the circumstances, embodied in the separation between artist and consumer, which alienate us from our own lived experience. (Perkins. S, 2016)
Bourriaud, Nicolas. (2002). Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World. New York, Lukas & Sternberg.

Détournement as Negation and Prelude
Guy Debord presents a discussion about détournement as a creative tactic and precondition for ensuring the vitality of cultural artefacts. He explains the importance of denaturing and decomposition regimes for formulating new expressive works - allowing them to be reinvested with new and potentially unanticipated meanings. In this way he challenges the a priori of the original through affirming the significant of transformational acts of cultural expression. (Perkins. S, 2017)
Debord, Guy. (2002). Détournement as Negation and Prelude. Situationist International Anthology. K. Knabb. Berkeley, CA, Bureau of Public Secrets.

Recycle It: A look at found-footage cinema, from the silent era to Web 2.0.
Ed Halter from the Museum of the Moving Image (USA) presents a potted summary of found-footage filmmaking. As made obvious in its title - the article presents a historical survey of the form that spans early avant-garde works through to a number of notable examples of video remixes from the early part of the 21st century. In this way the article presents a coherent narrative of the evolving phenomenon, its pioneers as well as influential ideas, which have inevitably impacted on its evolution. While it is certainly insightful, in its adoption of an art-historical mode the article fails to provide much insight about the impulses, motivations or creative interests of its creative practitioners and their oeuvres. (Perkins. S, 2017)
Halter, Ed. (2008) Recycle It: A look at found-footage cinema, from the silent era to Web 2.0.

A Taxonomy of Digital Video Remixing: Contemporary Found Footage Practice on the Internet
In this book chapter Horwatt discusses the development of found footage filmmaking from its origins as an avant-garde filmmaking technique to the practice of critiquing popular culture through the remixing of mainstream films. He explains that the form significantly changed after the invention of consumer VHS recorders (and the subsequent development and proliferation of video sharing sites such as YouTube) from one that centred on the repurposing of B-films and film waste etc. to one centring on the use of appropriation techniques as a critical tactic. As part of the discussion he proposes a taxonomy that builds on Paul Arthur's 'political remix' and 'trailer remix' categories, where the first can be seen as a logical evolution of détournement tactics advocated by Guy Debord/The Situationist International and culture jamming activists to the second where digital remixing has been used as a technique for parodying popular film titles as well as a means for commenting on the archetype of film trailer form. Through presenting his discussion Horwatt locates the practice of creating cut-ups and remashes as a marginal practice that seeks to challenge the power of media institutions and the 'closed-ness' of film publication and distribution, where cultural actors use appropriation techniques as a form of cultural resistance to disrupt the 'monopoly of the code' and domination by 'semiotic privilege'. (Perkins. S, 2016)
Horwatt, Eli. (2009). A Taxonomy of Digital Video Remixing: Contemporary Found Footage Practice on the Internet. Cultural Borrowings: Appropriation, Reworking, Transformation. I. R. Smith, Scope.

Layers of Meaning: Fan Music Video and the Poetics of Poaching
Jenkins presents a discussion about fan writers and videomakers, who through their appropriation practices transform meaning that is present in borrowed content. Which through building on ideas of Michel de Certeau he argues for an 'art of making do' centring on improvisational practices and the ad-hoc. He explains that in reading Mikhail Bakhtin such an art also represents a rejection of notions of original authorship (contrasting with accepted popular conceptions of artistic merit). It is a situation where meaning is impermanent and constantly shifting, where through its use is constantly transforming: combining cultural lexicon with the semantic and expressive intentions of its authors. In this way the creations of such fan writers and videomakers must not be seen as derivatives (stemming from some sort of cultural wellspring) but works that are no more and no less original than their sources. (Perkins. S, 2017)
Jenkins, Henry (1992). Layers of Meaning: Fan Music Video and the Poetics of Poaching. Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. New York and London, Routledge.

A history of subversive remix video before YouTube: Thirty political video mashups made between World War II and 2005
McIntosh presents a historical survey of experimental video cut-up works that were produced before the invention of the media-sharing site YouTube. Significantly the survey includes actual examples of key works, which have been embedded within the online article for reference. These are accompanied with short descriptions about each clip with some explanation of their lasting significance today. The examples are also contextualised in relation to changing authoring and narrative techniques as well as the degree to which clips have successfully benefitted from new and emerging technologies and distribution channels. (Perkins. S, 2016)
McIntosh, Jonathan (2005). "A history of subversive remix video before YouTube: Thirty political video mashups made between World War II and 2005", Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures.

Whacking Bush: Tactical Media as Play
Meikle presents a discussion of 'tactical media', which describes an approach to media activism that seeks to extend the détournement objectives (exemplified in the processes of remixing, reworking, restating and recombining creative, experimental practices) that was initially expounded by The Situationists International. In doing so he questions the political potential of such media interventions and the apparent stagnation of the form as a critical cultural approach. He explains that despite the activist positioning of the form - most works default to one of the following narrative archetypes i.e. "the detourned advertisement, the over-identified press release, the pie-struck politician" - and as a result compromise the ability of the form to enable real critical change. (Perkins. S, 2016)
Meikle, Graham. (2010). Whacking Bush: Tactical Media as Play. Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times. M. Boler, A. Schmidt, A. Renzi and N. Magnan, MIT Press.

Centones: Recycled Art or the Embodiment of Absolute Intertextuality?
Marie Okáčová presents a discussion about the history and significance of the ancient literary form of the cento. She explains that by its nature the type of patchwork poetry is completely derivative, where its authors have produced new and original works through their stitching together and recombination of Classical poems by Homer and Virgil. In this way the form can be seen as a precursor to modern recombinatory and intertextual works. (Perkins. S, 2017)
Okáčová, Marie. (2008). Centones: Recycled Art or the Embodiment of Absolute Intertextuality? Laetae segetes iterum. R. Irena. Telč, Czech Republic, Masarykovy univerzity.

Reference Review

Cinematic Bricoleurs: Remixing, restyling and repurposing in contemporary filmmaking practice
A blog post that describes a one-day conference in January 2016 focusing on video remixing, which includes presentations "featuring critically and/or politically motivated examples alongside artistic and creative narrative driven experimentations, speakers at the event present and consider these works alongside established film industry practices through the lens of intellectual property." (Perkins. S, 2016)
Gallagher, Owen. (2016). Cinematic Bricoleurs: Remixing, restyling and repurposing in contemporary filmmaking practice. Critical Remix. 2016.

The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies
Through the number and range of essays included, the book provides a useful contemporary resource on the subject of remixing. In doing so it restricts the history of remix culture to popular music culture of the 1970s. And primarily interpreting the practice as one centring on video remixing (with some discussion about music and text remixing). (Perkins. S, 2017)
Navas, Eduardo, Owen Gallagher, xtine burrough, Eds. (2014). The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies. New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Remix Theory
Remix Theory is a website created by Eduardo Navas, which functions both as an accompaniment to his 2012 book "Remix Theory" as well as a rather comprehensive resource of links and articles on the subject. The site is also a jump-off point for his projects, exhibitions and publications. Navas, E. (2012). Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling, Springer Vienna, (Perkins. S, 2017)
Navas, Eduardo. "Remix Theory" Retrieved 22 February 2017, 2017, from

Recycled Images: The Art and Politics of Found Footage Films
(Perkins. S, 2017)
Wees, William C. (1993). Recycled Images: The Art and Politics of Found Footage Films. New York City, Anthology Film Archives.