Monday, June 3, 2013

This Is The Last Time I Will Write a Post About A School Project. Unless I Go To Grad School But Who Knows if Blogger Will Even Be Cool by Then

For the final project of my Lawrence career, I really didn't have very many ideas. Life got in the way, and for the first time in a long time I preferred living life to sitting in a dark computer lab making my own grim commentary about life. I don't regret it, though. I wanted to make the most of my last days at Lawrence. Because the closer you get to leaving Lawrence, the more you realize how much you are going to miss it.

So in order to find some inspiration for this last project I went to the place where 95% of my wardrobe has come from since I started going to Lawrence: the Fox Valley Thrift Shoppe (affectionately called "The Shoppe"- pronounced "shoppy"). I couldn't tell you how many hours I have spent sifting through the layers of clothing at this place (more love hours than can ever be repaid, perhaps).

The Fox Valley Thrift Shoppe, in all of its glory

I wasn't really sure what the video was going to be about, but in the end I realized it is about the reality of the glamorization of the thrift shopping experience such as in the song "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The song is great, and super catchy, and I have definitely rocked out to it a number of times, but it completely misses the point that some people shop at thrift shops because they have to, not because it's cool to. Once I made the video I realized it's also about objectification of the body, and how performers such as D'Angelo objectify themselves for the sake of pop music, and realizing that we live in an absurd world where clothes from a thrift shop and beautiful black men can both turn into fetish objects in pop culture.

The great thing about this connection is that there is always pop music playing in The Shoppe, and I used the music that was playing while I was trying on clothes as the music in the video (which worked surprisingly well with the plot of the video). I had planned to do more with the sound, but my external hard drive broke, and I had to take it in to get it fixed, and although Geek Squad was able to recover the files, for some reason Final Cut was not able to register the files on the new hard drive. I didn't want to recreate the video entirely because I felt like it would have been way too forced the second time. I'm a proponent of the results of organic thought rather than forced re-creation. So it is what it is.

I guess if Baudrillard were to view this video he would say that it is about the reality of the value of the things that you put onto your body. It's about the reality of the person you see walking across campus with a cool shirt on, and not realizing that the shirt isn't new. It's about the reality of ownership. It's about the hypperrealism of donating and resale. It's about taking Mike Kelley's thrift shop art to a different level. It's about the simulation of diogetic sound into a real live soundtrack. It's about the reality of the glamour of pop stars.

But for me the video will be a reminder of my last term at Lawrence, and the reality that it all had to end eventually. Here it is:

Thrift Shoppe, 2013


  1. Your final cut really worked nicely. The abstraction of yourself is what was most interesting to me. You've been the "star" of many of your video pieces and this one brings the viewer in in a totally different way. With objectification a clear point here, there's definitely some voyeuristic stuff going on, and it's extremely effective. It feels like we're accomplisses in your shoplifting.

  2. I like your shoes. I also like the final scene of you walking out. The colors are wacky metallic-so cool. The coolest part of this project is that you are videotaping yourself thrift shop-lifting when, in most cases, when shop-lifting you tend to avoid security cameras.

  3. this would of course need many more love hours of tedious tweaks to make it festival-quality but it's a good start.

  4. I think the ending part that you added where both the racks of clothes and your walking out overlap is fantastic. Also, adding the bit where you are on the phone is pretty thought-provoking when included with the big picture. I think with the small edits you made it was definitely a big step up from the draft showing a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed this version.