Dan and Domnique, Sydney based sisters and artists-duo recently presented their remix film ‘Pixel Pirate II- The Attach of the Astro Elvis Video Clone’ at 1Shanti Road, Bangalore. Abhiram Poduval writes about the strategies that this artists sisters use in their work to debate the issue of copyright and cloning.
Our cinema experiences are practically very much related to not only our persistence of vision, but also persistence of mind. When we watch a film we cart with us the history behind it. The viewing experience of cinema becomes inclusive only when we are able to trace the past which made way for such a creation. The process of identifying certain characters, music, sound, dialogues everything depends upon our knowledge related to these which are occupied in our world of perception throughout our own history of perceiving. Cinema is time traveling machines which breaks all the notions of time and space and create a world of illusions and merchandise the dreams.
Soda_Jerk seems to be taking this concept a little further by complicating the idea of time in our viewing experience. The ground-breaking idea of piracy and the dominating ‘copy right commandants’ run into in war zone in a remix film titled ‘PIXEL PIRATE II The Attack of the Astro Elvis Video Clone’ done by SODA_JERK and SAM SMITH. The remix contains no original audio or video footage. Think of it as a sci-fi / biblical epic/ action movie with a subplot of troubled romance. It stars Elvis Presley, Moses, The Hulk, Monkey, Batman & Robin, Michael Jackson and The Ghostbusters. It is an hour long narrative remix video constructed from samples pirated from over 300 film and music sources.
“Our video remix practice is a technique of time travel that involves the creation of new video works by recombining samples from existing films, TV shows, music tracks and video games”, says Dan and Domenique the two Sydney based sisters working collaboratively as artists in the areas of video, photo-collages and installations. They work exclusively with found materials, recombining fragments of film footages, audio samples and image to create a new visual culture which deals with the intricate issues of copy rights. They think of video as a technology of traveling through the time which carries accounts of imageries which had individual existences in their own time and bring them all in a single frame in order to recreate a new time which has several other timely existences. “More than any other medium, video conveys the sense of a fragment of time teleported into the now”. The synopsis of their ‘PIXEL PIRATE II The Attack of the Astro Elvis Video Clone’ goes like this;
‘The year is 3001 and the ancient art of remix is being oppressed by the evil tyrant Moses and his Copyright Commandments. Meanwhile, in a secret base-camp on the moon a team of Pixel Pirates plot to overthrow Moses by their latest scientific discovery: video cloning. Their plan: travel back to 1955, abduct Elvis and bring him back to the future. They then clone Elvis and send the video clone back to 2015 to assassinate Moses, altering the course of VHS history. But first the Elvis Clone must face-off against the Copyright Cops and every action hero that MGM can throw his way’.
It gives you all the fun of a popular Hollywood flick where there is an evil who dreams of spreading the power and pedals the world and a protector who saves the subjects form the evil. Here the evils are copy right commandants lead by Moses and the Xavier is cloned version of Elvis Persly who eventually after his death resurrect again into the world and asks his followers to fight the copy right giants. The thematic come form the biblical, and the characters form popular flicks. Soda_jerk, throughout their practices in video art addresses many aspects including the copy right law, the revolutionary VHS tapes, the history of hip hop music in the America, the African music and so on. Sode_jerk has been extensively exhibited in Australia and abroad including the 16th video Brazil Festival, The Hart Centre for Art Beijing, and The Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney. They also work together as curators and art writers.
Soda_ jerk are currently working as resident artists at 1shanthiroad and initiating their next project around Indian Cinema which they find incredible as far as the thematic and the imageries are concerned.
Originally published for www.artconcerns.com