Recently, Rhett Jones’ talked to us about his film The Villains — an adaptation of Jean-Luc Godard’s La Chinoise (itself an adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s “The Possessed”) about a group of young and flawed aspiring activists, set in modern day Brooklyn, their Maoist theories replaced with Marshall McLuhan and new media idealism.
Today, the Creator’s Project debuted the glitched out datamosh trailer for the film and talked to Jones about Hacktivism, Clicktivism, “the anxiety of freedom” as the necessary flip-side to “the sunny outlook of innovation as a democratizing force” and more. Here’s the trailer:
Part of The Villains’ trailer is a wink at Godard’s trailer for Film Socialisme, as it also flashes through most of the films’ key frames, but it does this through unyielding datamosh with some pretty sick transitions, scooping in and exploding a few potent clips of found footage — “mostly stuff from YouTube” added “to provide counterpoint and texture to the story” — like vlogs of Jesse Slaughter, low-fi video of the toppling of Saddam’s statue, clips of notorious Saudi car stunts. Like the film itself, is a unique, reference-laden, crazy creature.
And it lives! The Creator’s Project also talked to Jones about watching the film online, which supplements the film with a series of video pop-ups, auto-generated randomly by implementing a pre-programmed keyword search using YouTube’s API, making each screening of the film its own.
This idea of Search Engine Generated Artwork (SEGA) is just one way of making the viewers experience unique. On a practical level I hope to refine it over time so that the film you watch might become dated but the associative footage playing with it stays fresh. I think the ideas in the film will stay relevant so in 20 years if we want to show footage of the President of the United States announcing the bombing of a country, we’ll show the latest POTUS announcing the latest bombing.