Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Staff photos Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Office

Cross posted on Byte Me

I've been looking into the work of Wynne Greenwood, sole band member in the three person band, Tracy and The Plastics. I am interested in the idea of participatory video and in performance that moves between real and recorded space. Through the use of multiple personas, Greenwood's performances attempt to blur boundaries between the maker and the made and invite her audience to make the performance as well by encouraging interjected commentary.
Part basement punk show, part video installation, and part one-woman play, Tracy and the Plastics are comprised of Greenwood and her virtual alter egos, Nikki and Cola, who exist solely on a four by five foot screen via video projections. Through lo-fi electronic music and bold but simple video art, Greenwood and the Plastics explore - and dismantle - the layers of interaction among performer, spectator, and screen. Midway through her performance Greenwood addressed this altered dynamic; stopping the VHS tape she explained: "When I pause the video, it's an acknowledgment that I made the video." Harvard Gazette
Greenwood will stop her act and engage her audience in conversation. In Can You Pause That For A Second...and let yourself groove, Greenwood writes about her concentration on the ability to pause a video and what this means to her:
It seems like when you pause (a video) you stop participating with it. You disengage, you stop paying attention, you answer the phone, spill(ed) your drink. But I think the opposite. I think the space of a paused video is one of total participation and self-care...

CAN YOU PAUSE THAT FOR A SECOND? Why do I keep doing this? Why do we keep doing this (this band, this video work, this singing job)? I make this happen because there's a space I'm moving around in. And it's a hot space, it's breathing and imagining and producing revolution, culture, passion. It's the same space as a video paused. It's the same space as the spoon suction in the separated peanut butter/oil mix. These spaces ask us to bring things together for a second.
I think that the vlog is a paused video. When you visit a vlog website, video merges with text , still image, and audio and there is space for the viewer to become maker through the inclusion of commentary which can be in the form of text, image and video. Many vloggers make themselves freely available for real time conversations via chat, PoIP, and video conferencing, merging the "then" with the "now".

There is a high degree of intertextuality between vlogs as makers comment on each other's videos, respond to them with their own videos, make guest appearances in the videos of other vloggers and make new videos utilizing clips from other makers. The idea that each of us is a potential vlogger, invited to contribute to the conversation, heightens the participatory nature of the medium.

Paused video is good for the soul. It's physical. It's a participation...Your turn. Wynne Greenwood


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