We’ve decided to scrap tonight’s planned show (about language post-Imus) in favor of a show about the visual reverberations of the Virginia Tech shooting. Our central prod came from the trusty barthjg, who wrote:
I’ll pitch a show about Instant Symbols and Icons, based on the Virgina Tech killings.
The image of Cho Seung-Hui brazenly holding two handguns, arms outstretched will soon reach iconic status, to be mashed up and shared in all sorts of ways–just like the Abu gharib photos and Che’ and everything else that has appeared on t-shirts and ads. How many You Tube videos created in the wake of the shootings? music tributes. every incident enters the mosh pit of creative repurposing.
Who is going to write the music, the movie…track every 6 months how pieces of this tragedy filter thru global culture.
Watch someone stage the two crazy plays this guy wrote for the drama class he is in. (you can find them on aol.com…i read them last night)
barthjg, in a show suggestion to Open Source, April 19, 2007
We’re following his lead, and asking: Is there anything to learn about the way we use new technologies in this first mass-murder made, as it were, for YouTube? Are mashups and tributes a form of digital catharsis, a sort of artistic safety valve? Is there a cross-over point where they become pure exploitation, or worse?
And what, exactly, is new here? Besides the zeros and the ones, and the ease of dissemination and reconfiguration, is there a difference between a 19th-century suicide note and a 21st-century QuickTime movie?
Assistant Professor of Culture and Communication, NYU
Picture Editor, The Washington Post
Flickr blogger, Burnt Pixel
Blogger, Good Reputation Sleeping
Founder of the Post’s Blog City feature
James Der Derian
Global Security and Global Media Project at The Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University
- Extra Credit Reading
Excerpts from the original footage sent by Cho Seung-Hui to NBC on the day of the shootings (via YouTube):
anditgoeslike, 2007-4-19, anditgoeslike’s LiveJournal: “These pictures of Cho failed to evoke the kind of emotional reaction that a real villain should. I’m sure it would be different if he were actually holding that gun to my head and not to a digital camera with the self-timer innocuously ticking away. I don’t know, though. I just imagined him going in front of the mirror and experimenting with various outfits and poses.”
ntcoolfool, Update, Bryce’s Journal, April 16, 2007: “I cannot decide if I should join and get the most up to date information or not. I think when I do, it will then hit me. I must avoid it at all costs. The list still awaits– and several friends have remained silent on facebook updates. Could it be them?”
Scottish Right, Old Media Tries To Tarnish New Media With Virginia Tech Massacre, Scottish Right, April 19, 2007: “A madman campus killer making a video and shipping it to a media outlet has absolutely nothing to do with “citizen journalism” or “new media.” A sicko video made with a camcorder and sent to NBC is hardly any different than an elaborate suicide note being written and mailed to a media outlet.”
Momus, The problem lays a floral wreath at the grave of the problem, Click Opera, April 17, 2007: “There, visually represented, is the same horror we heard on the cell phone video footage students recorded. The grim exterior of the building, and that seemingly endless banging. Horror beyond all the platitudes. Horror intimately tied to the braying donkey of the Absurd, the pragmatic, the routine, the logistical — what Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil.”
nikolrb, in a comment on Open Source, April 19, 2007: “It seems part of this discussion is not about if the images are more prevalent, I don’t think they are especially, but how quickly we are digesting and regurgitating and socially processing them. Think of all the movies, plays, songs, etc. made referring to Jeffrey Dahmer, the Zodiac Killer, Son of Sam killings, Jack the Ripper, etc. The entertainment/news cycle seems to be converging (in more arenas than just this.)”
Dan Gilmor, Virginia Tech: How Media Are Evolving, Center for Citizen Media Blog, April 17, 2007: “Once again, horror has given us a glimpse of our media future: simultaneously conversational and distributed, mass and personal.”
Sky News, Copycat: Killer Re-Enacted Violent Film, Sky News, April 19, 2007: “Officers believe he repeatedly watched Oldboy as part of his preparation for the killing spree.”