Showing posts with label performance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label performance. Show all posts

16.9.21

Why I Love TikTok Content Creators (And So Should You) — And a List of Zany TikToks I Found

I have a penchant for the theatrical. 
The dime novel. The beauty in the absurd. The homemade movie. The guy with the camera turned on himself. The take-a-household-item-and-make-a-prop kind of performativity. 

You get the gist.

And where can you find the most beautiful schlock the Internet has ever created? Why go no further than TikTok. It's a platform where content creators put their own identities front and center — and it's a highly satisfying romp.

If you didn't know — TikTok is a mobile video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The first iteration of the app was dubbed Musical.ly, authored by software Engineers Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. Basically, the app began as a lip syncing app called Musical.ly and its companion live streaming app called live.ly. TikTok was a rebrand of the app that attempted to fold both features of the two social apps into one.

And the rest is history. 

Just as Twitter revolutionized the short writing form of 265 characters, TikTok has ushered in the micro-length video form of 15 to 30 seconds.

The draw of TikTok is twofold — it’s easy to use and to create content with, coupled with its immense sound and music library and its unending filter library. However, the best TikToks have neither — they’re pure spun dioramas of peoples constructed private lives. And it’s why I first was enamored of the platform — peering into people’s live created in a dizzying array of quick action theater of the absurd. 

Here are some gems I’ve collected along the way. 

1. The Smiling, Waving Homage to The Sitcom Montage
This teen has an instinctual appreciation for the visual grammar of the iconic television sitcom montage — ignore the silly tune — and pay attention to how his edits match perfectly something out of American television classics Growing Pains or Family Ties.

2. Antoinette's Casual Use of the Cigarette
It’s easy to dismiss @antoniteegrams because her videos are riffs on soundbytes. But she’s so humble in her mien and I love her casual use of the cigarette. I have no idea what the original source of the soundbyte is but that’s what makes TikTok endearing. Any random noise can be strewn into actor’s gold. Andy Warhol was partly right — in the future everyone will be famous — but not just for five minutes, but for as long as you have working Internet and a smartphone with a halfway decent camera.

3. The Family Dinner Table is Often a Suitable Mise-en-Scene
@eddiepdoyle videos his grandmother’s acerbic comebacks in dozens of video. TikTok has made many folks Internet famous because a cousin, or grandson, or daughter, or someone, picked up a camera and started candidly filming a family member. The immediacy of the moment is right at your fingertips, as if you’ve stumbled into this woman’s cluttered kitchen and she wants to know what you want from her. Classic.

4. A Colorful Edit

It’s possible that this edit is rather basic. But it's relatively early TikTok. I like the use of color and fashion and the sheer fact that the guy is having a lot of fun. And that's quite a mess for one less-than-thirty-second video.

5. Boys Wear Tee-Shirts on Their Heads When They Play a Girl
So teenage boys on TikTok will don a tee-shirt on their head when they're playing a female role. It's sheer schlock. But a testament to the fact that no TikTok star has a wardrobe warehouse or access to MGM studios. Although, it is odd that teenage boys think a woman's hair is well represented by donning a tee on their head. Oh, girl!

6. Sissy That Walk!
If you can't get on the runway, girl you better werk. So does this amazing runway walk that is probably this TikToker's backyard. Sissy that walk!

7. The Five Minute Bathroom Break 
TikTok lends a view into working class jobs — fast food attendants, nail salonists, customer service representatives, and the lot. One thing network television cannot do — even though it has tried with shows like All in the Family and Roseanne — is replicate the experience of an everyday American's day at work. And often that means taking a five minute bathroom break and talking to the mirror. Period.

8. Right?!
I am not sure what to think of this video. Brilliant? Yes.

9. The Smiling Boy
This boy has created an entire fandom over the fact that he is a teenager who enjoys smiling.

10. The Histrionic School Lunch Lady Performance
Again put a piece of fabric on your head and all of a sudden you are a woman. And I wouldn't even call this drag. I call it histrionic performativity. And I didn't steal that from Judith Butler.

11. It's Got To Be the Sweater
It could be ironic that this guy is wearing a Playboy sweater. Right?! Lots of TikToker were born out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

12. The Best Comedian is Probably Your Neighbor, Mr. Pickles
Again — the beauty of TikTok is that it creates stars out of ordinary people. I love this guy's vulnerability and authenticity all packaged into a nice, yellowy color scheme.

22.8.19

Aesthetic Thursday: Marta Minujín Reloaded at the New Museum

La Menesunda (on view at the New Museum) has several interactive features.
La Menesunda - So, Marta Minujín created an installation in the 60s in Buenos Aires - it’s been reloaded in New York at the New Museum. Of course, I shamelessly inserted myself into the television screen. The installation has several interactive features — one notable one being the recreation of a nail salon from the period — replete with a performance artist who will do your nails. I felt curious while within the experience — fully jiving with the work's conceit that I was living inside the mind of the artist.
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#newmuseum #modernart #artist #gallery #artreview #performanceart #newmuseum #installation #gelatin #lamenesunda #art #halcyongallery #gelitin #artmuseums #contemporaryart #photography #travel #museum #modern #design via Instagram.

29.9.18

With the Ubiquity of Electronic Devices That Can Seamlessly Stream Any Content Folks Are Going to Digital Media for All Their Heartache Problems

A boy with black hair, a white t-shirt, and black pants sits by his bedroom room looking anxiously at his phone.
I went to the bank today to cash a money order. There was a twenty-person long line. I almost bailed on the line but I decided to wait it out. "Twenty-minute wait - right? I can do it." 
I was amused by a tween who was sitting in the windowsill intent on his Smartphone. He was watching an animated video with a voiceover. The voice was a woman's. She was talking about a breakup with her boyfriend. He had delivered the news through a long text *animation of a long text*. She was heartbroken *animation of a heart breaking in two*. The voiceover was very adult sounding and since the tween hadn't plugged in his earbuds the volume was audible. He never looked up from his screen. Watching the tween watching his phone it was like he was externalizing his inner turmoil for everyone to see and hear. The voiceover was so audible and the tween's intent stare so intense - it was the muse-en-scene of a performance piece. Maybe the tween had had a recent breakup with a girl and in his confusion and heartache, he googled YouTube videos related to breaking up. He wasn't reading an article in a magazine nor was he talking to a friend - he was watching a video that he and I and everyone in the damn line could hear. By the time I reached the cashier and scooped up my money - I turned around to see if he was still sitting in the windowsill. It was empty. So long fellow. I hope time heals a broken heart.

Image Source: The Mix
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

18.5.11

Why I Like Wanderers (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Love the Epic!)

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Love the Epic!
On Loving the Greek Epic Form
Odysseus slays the suitors (while Penelope and Telemachus Look On)
I have a penchant for Greek epic. It's the absolute in the epic I adore. The epic form does seem outdated. But it lives on in presidential speeches and high arching ontologies. Odysseus is an epic wanderer. He's clever. He's stubborn. And he risks the lives of others for his own gain. That's who he is. I think they call it an archetype. Odysseus the man of many wiles. They don't call him that for nothing. I don't like the epic for all those reasons, though: I like the epic form simply because I like to think of the stories of Homer and so forth as unmoored from traditional metaphysics.

Living Life Like I Am a Character in a Novel
I live more like a novel. Or at least when I read novels, especially contemporary novels, that is the vibe I feel. Maybe I should say I want to live my life novelistically rather than epically. Or maybe I should say to live one's life like an epic is foreclosed to us. To think of the world metaphysically has never been all that simple, or might I say, successful. We see in the novel something akin to what it means to live day to day in our modern life. We see in the epic something "satisfactory" to quote the Wise Men in T.S. Elliot's poem about the former dispensation of gods forgotten.

A New Dispensation: God is Dead
I would say the new dispensation is the forgetting of God. Of absolutes. God is still around. We just forget to not believe in him so he sticks around, lingers, like a photograph of a former boyfriend you keep for memory's sake.

I am not saying this mantra "God is dead," in a purely Nietzchean sense, but maybe more like God has been dead (no one killed him), and we like to keep his poster still tacked to the wall.

I'm The Type of Guy Who Likes to Wander 'Round
Which is why the wanderer is an apt modern trope. For Odysseus, it is a mark of human fragility and the inevitable consequence of a man who forsakes God. For the modern wanderer, it is not so much the case we wander because of something the Greeks called excessive pride (hubris). Still, instead, it is a search for different authority unrelated to a top/down structure of power. To wander is more like to stumble about looking for what authorizes existence.

We wander because to stay still is too Medieval.

We keep it going. Kierkegaard's category of immediacy, it turns out, is not a definition of despair but rather an accurate depiction of humanity. If the immediate man is the despairing man, then I would have to claim that all men are despairing.

Growing Up and What That Means for Me
What happens to philosophy when it grows up? Does it become a wanderer sans the narrative script of Greek verse?

I only say all this to mask a more autobiographical story.

I've been in flux. I am in between apartments. Moving from one place to another always unsettles me.

Or maybe it's the tracts passed out in the subway stations announcing the end of the world on May 21, 2011.

And, Finally a Dedication to Walker Percy and György Lukács
I dedicate my homelessness to Walker Percy and György Lukács. No, don't worry, I am not writing a doctoral dissertation on those two guys. It would be fun. I am lucky if I can land a teaching gig this summer. Pay my rent. Eat hot dogs on Coney Island and manage to subsist on anything that can be stir-fried in a wok.

Peace out.

21.11.10

Video: Free Music for the Masses

A video taken in the Union Square subway station of musical performers in New York City.
YouTube Video
A troupe performs in the public concourse at 14th Street Union Square station.