08 July 2009

Beautiful Decay II

Ten years ago, I read Crash by J.G. Ballard. Published in 1973, Crash is the story of two characters named Ballard and Vaughan. They have been desensitized by the world around them. In order to feel, Ballard and Vaughan begin studying car crashes and car crash victims. In the midst of their studies, Ballard and Vaughan find themselves aroused by what they see. The book follows them as they begin to experiment.

I can't say that this is my favourite book. However, it did leave an impression on me. My favourite passage is from Chapter 13. Ballard and Vaughan attend a crash test research lab symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to simulate an auto accident, using crash test dummies in a car and on a motorcycle. The scientists record the simulation for later study. Ballard (the author) describes the accident as the audience watches the video playback in slow motion. It is a dance...a haunting, mesmerizing and brutal dance.

I immediately thought that this would make an amazing music video. At the time, I heard the Adrian Belew song "Fly" as slow-motion images of crash test dummies flying through the air played. However, I couldn't afford any film equipment as a broke college student. Creating crash test simulations was also out of the question. The images that were in my imagination had to remain there.

Cut to ten years later. Jamie, Chris and I are sitting at Amer's Deli in Ann Arbor at the beginning of June, discussing our film production company. In the interest of expanding our horizons, we decided to start our own little book club for just the three of us. The first book: Crash by J.G. Ballard. I re-read the book and get to Chapter 13. It still effects me in the same way that it did ten years ago. And then it hits me:

I can make this music video now.

Because I have no way of simulating crash tests, I start scrounging on the internet.

You'd be surprised what you can find on Google with the right search pattern.

When I sat down to start editing, I queued Adrian Belew's "Fly" in i-movie with footage ready to be cut. And then I froze. I had the film editor's equivalent of writer's block. I sat for almost an hour trying to edit and nothing was working. As I sat there frustrated, I realized that the reason nothing was happening was because I was cutting the images in my head to a song that wasn't mine.

So, I scrolled through the tracks on my album. Once Beautiful Decay II came up, I knew I had something.

All of this is a very long introduction for my second film short.

A few caveats before we begin:

1/ All of the footage that you will see is simulated. These are crash tests. No human beings were involved.

2/ I make no ownership claims of the raw footage. The footage was borrowed from different sources. I am operating strictly under the guidelines of copyleft. In the interest of full disclosure, a list of my sources can be found at the bottom of this post.

3/ The footage is very low quality. However, that adds to the aesthetic of the piece.

And so, without further ado, I give you "Beautiful Decay II":



A direct link to the video can be found here.

As usual, please leave comments (regardless of whether they're good, bad, constructive, etc.).

Video Sources

1/ http://www.autoblog.com/2009/05/28/video-gm-crash-test-footage-from-the-60s-proves-weve-come-a-l/

2/ http://www.break.com/index/failed-chinese-crash-test.html

3/ http://www.archive.org/details/crashdummies1

4/ http://www.alexisparkinn.com/test_flying_videos.htm

5/ http://lisar.larc.nasa.gov/BROWSE/crashes.html

1 comment:

Moneyeyes said...

Sorry I waited so long to watch this, I wanted to be in the right frame of mind to see what I expected to be something special. I was not disappointed. You are definitely on to something here. I'll need some time to let it ruminate but seeing this has sparked my imagination towards something, what I'm not sure.

You've outdone yourself my friend. Bravo.