Wednesday, 6 June 2012

First-hand experience

Its by talking to the people on the street you get the best information from. Shop owners from Camden's Original British Boot-making company give an insight to their struggling industry and how cheap mass production is killing the British shoe trade. Top is an image of my shoes, two months after purchase from Office Shoes. The guys in Camden were so furious they gave me a free pair of the original George Cox Robot Creepers.

Creative Review

Patrick Burgoine posed a question to us during his last visit, about the future of graphic design with the current increase of cheap, mass produced logo design. Understandably, an offer of such an inexpensive service could be seen to threat the existence of the professional designer. My view is that a logo is a logo, but its the overall strategy and tone of voice of the company that gives way to great results. A great designer shouldnt need to compare their work to these because as far as i'm aware, they're in a completely different league. Certainly, your average joe may not be able to appreciate the skill behind well designed branding, but if they're made aware of the benefits and the consolidating affect a strong brand identity would have on their company, I'm positive they would reconsider the cheaper option.

More can be read on the Creative Review website.

Dissertation: YouTube Poop

In a small corner of the internet there is a fad that has been growing for some time now, so much so that these highly experimental deconstructions of a material abundant society are catching the attention of lecturers across the globe. They are amateur, anti-design and counter-cultural, yet require interaction from the online community in order to survive and work as a petri-dish for cross breeding memes unlike any other remix. This fascination with the trend lead me to discuss to what extent the YouTube Poop was a form of cultural capital.

...the re-appropriation of soundtracks to films is taken to a new level, as the edited is re-edited.

An epilepsy warning, but 'imperial april' proves a more traditional poop with examples of a sentence mixing, 'ear rape' (when volume is maximised and distorted) and word splicing (where words are cut and rearranged to form weird sounds or obscenities) and extreme image manipulation/montaging. modern equivalent below…an example also of YTP 'tennis

The following interview with (Unnamed) YouTube Pooper (03/01/12) gives a great insight to the world of Pooping.

In your opinion, what defines a Poop from a regular audio/visual remix?

I don't think there's a very clear factor that distinguishes YTP from other kinds of media remixes, after all the fact that they both edit existing material sometimes makes them difficult to keep apart.
One thing I can think of is the amount of editing that is actually done (for instance I wouldn't call a video that is only sped up a poop, but a typical "Chipmunk" video).
Also important is that the creator considers it a poop himself. Kurkop for instance is slowly trying to move away from the YTP community, people consider his material a step above poop by now, it's more meant to be art, and not entertaining in the same ways as a poop is.

What led you to start remixing? and what inspires your style of work?

I started making youtube poops after seeing that Alvin Earthworm, creator of the Super Mario Bros Z series and furry artist, made a few of his own, the first of which that I saw being "YouTube Poop: epic hyperventilation", which used Spongebob. I don't know if that video is still up, and if it is, I know it's blocked here in the Netherlands. It still used Movie Maker and all that, but I liked them. I took two spongebob episodes myself and started messing around with those. They both ended up terrible and one has been my most viewed video for a while, until it got removed for copyright infringement ("Fair use" is still too transparent to be used effectively as an argument, apparently).
My style has been inspired by many people, but not every piece of inspiration stayed. My initial stuff was inspired by Alvin, logically, and a few things from the poops I made with movie maker were influenced by Deepercutt and Walrusguy, albeit rarely. My first YTPMVs were made because I liked both the song and the source, and saw the songs being used for similar purposes all over the place (Ronald mcdonald insanity, for instance), but I think CommanderGwonam was the person who pushed me to the point of actually making the YTPMVs. Visuals were inspired almost exclusively by experimenting with how Vegas worked, hence why the first few videos I made with it are very static. As an example, I only started to figure out what keyframes were at "Kaizo story - Oppressjon", where I also decided to go nuts on the effects.
When I actually got to the point of making real poops, I had grown to like stuff like Imaperson and MustangSally72, not to mention through some related videos I found another Dutch pooper who used the same source as I was planning to use for my first poop that I would consider good myself. This particular poop (Samson slikt een magneet in) became my first to be longer than a minute, but not the first I was satisfied with. Some static in the beginning was inspired by MS72's "1500", the ending was very much my try on an ending like on Imaperson's "MIKEWITH10ERICS: LEGEND OF MILKMEAT". Recent inspirations have been avojaifnot, jubduk, RASVAKEITINv23 and Geibuchan (although I can't make stuff like he does, watching it does get me motivated to work again).

Do you wish to communicate anything with your subject choices/ style?

So, you're wondering if I'm trying to transfer some sort of message with my poops? Not really, most of it is just intended to be a joke, but I do suppose that's the message people are supposed to take from it: they should generally just leave their common sense at the door and take poops for what they look like, which is usually pretty silly. I wish corporations would understand that poops usually don't decrease the market value of their products, though. They obviously don't get the message that YTP generally isn't very serious. If they did, there would be a lot less drama involved among poop.

What is the purpose of the YTP?

The purpose of a poop is usually either to annoy or to entertain. I aim to mostly go for the first, but if I confuse (thus usually annoy) people who stumble across one of my poops by accident, I do like it, whether that is because I enjoy the reaction or because I can introduce someone new to poops of this style. Right now I'm actually making a poop that was initially sort of meant to annoy a certain person, but as always that's not its only intention.

Do you consider your own work art or entertainment?

I generally consider my own work entertainment. The closest I'd get to art with that would either be a big stack of effects on some footage or trying to get some things animated smoothly, but these are ultimately just to create a laugh, anyway.

Do you have any thoughts on why this community has suddenly emerged (aside from software & material access with the internet making it possible)? Why is the remix so appealing?

My guess on why YTP is getting bigger again is simply the fact that more videos have been created now than there were a few years ago, so the chance of actually finding poop has become bigger. Depending on what kind of people find what kind of poop, the reaction can vary a lot. I can imagine that I would've hated the style I currently use when I just got introduced to poops, but there could also be people who find things that are visually and audibly loud and eventful more interesting than pasting the so many overused quote on a noun of another video (very typically done in what Stuart K Reilly, the YTP news host, refers to as spadinner poops. it's best not to contact him, by the way, he tends to not give very serious answers to messages of this nature). The fact that certain poopers become overrated can be considered both good and bad this way. Waxination and formerly Walrusguy create a good gateway for many people who are new to poop so they can get introduced to it, but there's also the "danger" that these people will only like the style these people use, which tends to be especially easily accessible due to the use of overused quotes or other types of memes. My thoughts on the kind of order people would need to watch videos to get introduced to hyperactive styles like Imaperson's would be to start out with Waxination or Walrusguy (because of how easily accessible those are), then move on to people like Dinnerwarrior (since sentence mixing is easy to get into as well, but he doesn't rely on overusing quotes or characters that have been used for a few years already that much), followed by Geibuchan (I find him to be pretty much the perfect bridge between slower, linear, often plot based editing and the fast, loud and generally nonsensical kind, since he does both), then arrive at a level like unclesameagle (his style isn't supposed to bring any kind of story or message across in the slightest, and for what I've seen usually keeps the visually epileptic nature of a video to a low level, but does often mess around with rapid pitch shifting and occasional ear rape, the best example of him in my eyes is "Shivovish", which only makes 2 jokes that involve sentence mixing throughout the whole video, both in the first 5 seconds), or maybe skip that and go straight to Imaperson, who I just mentioned. I guess for good measure, YTP tennis users can be introduced after that, just to show how far editing can go if people take turns editing footage, sometimes without even adding any new footage at all (names like molhal and mycroprocessor come to mind here). YTPMVs can go somewhere in the mix too, but I don't really know where at this moment.

I think the appeal to youtube poop is typically that people like to see things done to a video source that it wasn't originally intended to say or show. Re-interpreting footage or text often provides a source of entertainment, for instance in "Santa Claus is coming to town", there's a part of the lyrics that says "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake", which you can interpret as it should be, that santa is all knowing, or that he is some creepy stalker who wants to do things with you. By such interpretations you're basically making the song a parody of itself, which is how I've heard poop described as well: turning videos into a parody of themselves. It can also be compared to how people edit pictures in photoshop to make them look humorous or surreal, the difference being that poop does this in video format.

There's great potential in poops if it was to move beyond youtube, however there's a danger of it coming at the cost of their core principle (which seems to be quite anti-establishment? - if not by directly satirising material; the Poop's purpose of annoying 'victims' and confusing average youtubers, their overall method of deconstruction & desire to become more than a passive viewer)

As a Pooper what is your take on Envirophone's recent 'Wonga man' advertising campaign? ...would you still class this as a Poop?

I knew about this Wonga man, but I hadn't seen his ads before. I don't think it necessarily classifies as a poop, but I do understand that the kind of silly looking nature of the advert would make you perceive it as one. I do indeed understand that YTPers getting commercialized could have some annoying consequences for the editing liberty. If it were to become, say, broadcasted on TV or something, it would probably be difficult to pull off something that will remain interesting to watch, and would need to be broadcasted during later hours to increase the liberty of what can be shown or said. The only way that I would feel absolutely safe about youtube pooping while making money off it would be if it were through YT partnership. At that point, youtube doesn't seem to care anymore as long as you provide some ad revenue, and will probably defend you with the argument of fair use rather than pretending there's no such thing anymore. That would be a step in the right direction in my opinion, but I understand why some people wouldn't see it that way. It's understandable that people see YTP as something that makes them stand out a little bit. I do this myself in a way.

One more thing: Seeing how you introduced yourself in relation to Remix culture, you can maybe get an interesting conversation with David Bailey (user atmaweapon42 on youtube). About half a year ago, he got interested in making YTP somewhat better known among the public and has mentioned the "potential art" in it a lot (Kurkop especially got a lot of attention from him).

Interview with Professor David Bailey.

Interview with David Bailey (atmaweapon42), Professor of Writing and Linguistics at Altamaha Technical College, 10/01/12, again in regards to my dissertation.

-How would you define a YouTube Poop from a regular remix?
-Would you describe the movement as anti-commercial?
-YouTube's been an important platform for this due to the accessibility it lends and social interaction. Where do you see the YTP progressing to? And is it dependant on this form of interaction?

I think YTP differs from regular remix with its almost obsessive need to communicate cultural memes and transmit a new language. What YTP does, is take what some would consider crap and re-package it in a way that is artistically relevant and original. Most of the YTP practitioners take unction at any attempt to classify there work as any art though, and defend it as a simple past time that is worthless by definition.

What you have is a classic counter-culture, and YES it definitely resists commercialism whilst simultaneously offering a new type of media filter, pointing viewers to new, odd, and interesting material. One of the most important jumps YTP is going to make (and I do believe it is already here with some users) is to move away from pure copyright content and focus more on original material produced on YouTube and other open platforms.

Take Renard Queenston for example. Renard is a legit remix artist who sells CDs. He produces traditional music albums. I would NEVER have discovered Renard had it not been for the Constant YTP remixes of his songs spliced with other media. YTP served as a content aggregate making extremely popular videos from what could have been an obscure source. I have spoken with Renard and he actually has seen the bump in his popularity generated by these sales.

Interview with CassetteBoy

The questions I ask here may not be very relevant to people but I wanted to highlight the type of amazing people we get to contact through various projects. This is an interview for my dissertation with the infamous 'Cassetteboy', 04/01/12. The title of my essay was 'YouTube Poop; A new form of Cultural Capital?' (see YTP post for more details)

Have you heard of 'Youtube Poops'? would you consider your mashups one / Why?

I first heard of youtube poops this year I think, when someone referred to one of our videos as one.  It's not a term I like and would never use it myself.  I thought I hated the term Mash Up until I heard youtube poop, it's so dismissive and belittling - I mean it's got the word Poop in it.

Your work originated from audio mashups, do you feel the visual remix is just a manifestation of the audio mashup? What inspired you to start remixing?

When constructing a video, we still start with the audio, collecting words and phrases that might be useful.  So the audio is the most important element, because most of our jokes are still verbal.  often it's a case of "patching up" the visuals as best we can, trying to hide the edits in the soundtrack with reaction shots and so on, although of course this does give rise to some additional jokes.

We started cutting up audio when we used to make compilation tapes for our friends with funny little bits of dialogue between the music.  Eventually the funny little bits got more complicated and took over.  The move from there into video was a natural progression, a new challenge after years of audio-only work.

Why do you think Remixes are so successful these days?

I think there are various reasons.  Our type of remix has only become widely available recently - before the internet there was no real outlet for an artform that infringed copyright so blatantly, so there's still an air of novelty to the whole thing.  Because of the copyright issues, they feel a bit 'naughty', which is always popular.  Also, I think there's nice 'David vs. Goliath' aspect to them - people like the idea that a massive Hollywood franchise like Harry Potter can be taken apart by a normal person on their home computer.

Clearly your Nick Griffin mashup had an element of political drive in addition to humour. Do you aim to communicate anything with your other subject choices ie. Harry Potter/ Dragon's Den? and why do you think these characters work so well?

With our non-political work we're mainly celebrating celebrities we enjoy, or attacking those we don't.  We don't necessarily have an agenda, we focus on the jokes first and foremost.  As a whole though I guess there's an attempt to prick the pomposity of the rich and famous.  The people who take themselves too seriously are often the best targets, and the Dragons are a good example of that. 

You've progressed from 'mates just having a laugh' to owning a fan-base of over a million. As with many internet phenomena's it begins with a degree of rebellion & anti- commercialism. Do you feel collaborating with the BBC has taken away an element of this?

It is strange when something that started as a hobby becomes something approaching a job.  It's true that some creative compromises need to be made, although often limits can be good for creativity.  For example there used to be much less swearing in TV comedy, so the writers had to be far more creative and imaginative with their use of language than they are now, when they can just say "fuck" as much as they want.  Ultimately the commissioned pieces are a chance for our work to find a larger audience, and money that we earn this way can support us while we're making our own material, so i don't really see it as a bad thing.

Viral techniques, remixes & use of memes (created by the public) are used a lot in marketing tactics today. Do you feel there's a switch from a 'top-down' cultural production, or will it ultimately always be dictated to by higher powers?

I'm not sure if I have an answer for this one.  Our own work is reliant on 'higher powers' creating TV and movies that are widely recognised so we can subvert them.  I guess I think there will always be large TV and movie studios, and advertising budgets, but they will increasingly have to compete with stuff made by the public.  But people will always want to watch movies, and it's hard to make something feature length with no budget.

I visited the Design Museum's 'Designs of the Year 2012' exhibition in May. Some great creative work stood out amongst the likes of Alexander McQueen's wedding dress for Kate Middleton, in particular Davey Wreden's gaming experience 'The Stanley Parable', which happened to be very relevant to my narrative project. This mod utilises Half-Life 2′s Source Engine to create a 'metafictional quagmire' come 'mind-fuck en par with Beckett’s Waiting for Godot or Albert Camus’ The Stranger.' This genius game breaks up linear storytelling and consequently disrupts immersion with the interference of the narrator.

"You start the game as employee 427, a belabored office worker, who one day finds everyone in his building has suddenly disappeared, and it’s up to you to uncover the mystery behind their disappearance. This is a game where simple decisions (Like do you take the door on your right or the door on your left?) ultimately determines your fate. There are no tutorials, no instructions beforehand, only the brilliant voice-over narration of British actor Kevan Brighting. 

“The whole point of the game is that there is no answer…The entirety of the game is realizing what the question is in the first place,” stated Wreden in an interview with Wired Magazine. What’s even more astounding is that 22-year-old Wreden had never designed a video game previously. The game constantly breaks the fourth wall and there’s no shortage of self-referential jokes to be had either, as the narrator constantly takes delight in reminding the player you’re very much playing a video game. Real gluttons for punishment will try to achieve all six alternate endings but in the end, the game raises more questions than it answers, which is entirely intentional, and depending on your level of open-mindedness you’ll either love or hate this game." - 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


GFSmith visited a few days ago with paper samples, never did I think it were possible to get so excited over paper…but we did. I personally orgasmed over their 'duplex' range; a liquorice sandwich of neon pink wedged between two crisp high-quality whites. …not surprising they supply the likes of Pentagram, Gucci Group, Burberry and Mulberry who are attracted by its British heritage and bespoke ordering. I already noted my reluctance to throw away the packaging from my recent makeup purchases at topshop; also clients of GFSmith…

Recommended printers included generation press. also check out (designers of their logo)