Feedback (from Bill Wolff)

Hi Dan,

[. . .]

I'm more than happy to make some suggestions regarding your video [. . .] I strongly agree with the focus on emergence and performance--two fields that must be considered when thinking about remix. In remix, texts seem to both emerge out of one another and perform multiple functions through the act of emergence. Video, unlike alphabetic text, is associative because it relies on the human brain's innate desire to make connections between things. We watch a video remix, like Imagine This (, and we so strongly want to make connections between two incredibly different clips that we bend over backwards to do it. Why, why, why is Animal in there at that part? And so on.

With this in mind, I don't have trouble with your references to DIWE and other obscure objects from C&W's past. The references act as samples, allusions that you are challenging a reader to go and learn more about. It is also what makes it poetic (a la “The Waste Land's” vast references).

Perhaps one of the concerns about the piece being scholarly is how you've framed it in terms of memoir—a genre that is seen as more creative than scholarly—and then as a history—but history in a way that seems self-deprecating and as a result tends to diminish its potential impact. The whole first paragraph of the narrative is a hedging of bets, of options, of impact. Words and phrases such as “like any history, it will be partial” and “it's really just my perspective” and “start just doodling here” and “I hope the focus doesn't” suggest a great deal of hesitation at the beginning—a hesitation that is not found in the language used toward the end of the piece. There it is much more confident. Going back to framing, I might see what it is like to start not with the idea of memoir, but with remix. An idea for a rewrite:

“So this is my remix. A history of computers and writing. I'm doodling here. And I think I'll also grab some sound. I want to play some music. Like any history, it will be performed. Let me adjust this a little bit. So I'll look backwards, the focus pixelating and emerging. I'm playing with this image right here, messing with what I want to say with these flows of material. Shapes. Layers. Words that launch me into memory.”

Like most remixes, yours works best when more than one text is at work in ways that are not necessarily complementary. For example, at 3:17 you launch a text-card-thing that you've used earlier in the video. Here, however, the words as written on the text are not the same as the words you are speaking. Earlier the words on the cards were the same and the impact is much less effective. Remix, I think, wants disjunction. The beauty of the final part of your movie where there are comments being typed into the comments field is that the words in the field are so drastically different than the words being spoken that the reader is forced to try to make connections between the two. I also like how the highlight feature you use anticipates the word appearing within it, such as when the last “drum” is typed.

So, I wouldn't do much to the end because I think it is quite effective.  I also think the fact that you touch on various subjects might be a question of the medium: Can we go as in depth with video as we do with alphabetic text? Remix video, I think, invites new topics to emerge readily in ways that don't happen in alphabetic texts. Video is alinear. It actively fights against it. And I'm not sure we should be looking for linear modes of scholarship when composing in video.