After our mid-project meeting with Joyce, we gained a better sense of what she was looking for in a final product, and we began to revise our vision and rhetorical choices. We decided to model our revised approach after a designer/client relationship. During the revision process, we focused less on the constraints for the class project and more on our client's expectations for the outcome. This shift in perspective (from ourselves to our client) gave us the push we needed to keep working and deliver a video that kept Joyce's message intact and upheld the essence of her call to action (to make, disrupt, and innovate).
In addition to a shift in approach, our process changed after our discussion with Joyce. Instead of focusing merely on the execution of technical details, like a sound transition or the placement of an image, we began working to construct a complete picture—a final product that did not appear to be an assemblage of different media, but an embodiment of Joyce's message and call to action in a single remediated video. Our process shift was the result of our conversation with Joyce, which gave us a clear vision of what the final product should be, but it was also connected to our increased comfort with the editing software (Adobe Premiere Pro and Audition).
To do this, we considered some conceptual aspects, including inserting an introduction. We worked to find the perfect, Creative Commons-licensed punk song to pair with the visualizations that complimented Joyce’s rabble-rousing style and mirrored her call to action. After some failed attempts, we digitally replicated the double screens that were shown behind Joyce on the conference stage, sometimes switching to full-screen to emphasize important text, words, examples. We discuss some of these choices below in detail.
Conceptual Decisions We Made in the Final Remediation
Inserting an Introduction
Rather than simply dropping Joyce's conference address on YouTube without any framing, we decided to insert a portion of Linda Adler-Kassner's introduction to ground the video in a particular place and time. Adler-Kassner's phrase "And now, it's time for the main event" was like Barnum & Bailey meets academia. It was too good not to include.
Pairing Punk with Visualization
Including punk music at the beginning and end of her talk was an intentional choice for Joyce. Not only did she reference punk philosophy twice during the talk, she also used it as an analogy for her call to make, disrupt, and innovate. To honor this rhetorical choice, we attempted to pair some punk tunes in the introduction with a visual representation of disruption—two screens with sound waves that pulsed along with the punk music. Our hope was that the two screens would help orient the viewer to the tone of the address as well as the physical space, which included one screen on each side of the podium. Initially, we chose to begin the video with a punk song by CRTVTR (2016) called "I Could Be Her" because what graduate student in our field doesn't want to achieve the kind of success Joyce has?
But, after we listened to it over and over and over during our editing process, we decided it wasn't punk enough. That is, it didn't sound enough like Joyce's original choice, The Ramones's (1976) "Blitzkrieg Bop." The song didn't have enough screeching lead guitar and harsh melodies to be instantly recognized as punk, a recognition we felt we needed for Joyce's references and her message to be most impactful. Thus, after we finished our revision and submitted it to Michael and Joyce, they substituted "I Could Be Her" with The League's (2016) "Let's Die of Our Sins" and our ending song, Punk Rock Opera’s (2016) "Generation X," with Roller Genoa's (2013) "(I've Missed You) So Bad," both of which were licensed under Creative Commons and available through Jamendo.
Replicating the Double Screens
Replicating the double screens from the conference in a digital environment was a challenge. In the beginning of our invention process, it was a technical challenge because we didn't know how to effectively produce this visual effect in Premiere Pro. But, toward the end, it became a conceptual challenge. Were we compromising the integrity of the talk by adding kitschy, small screens on each side of Joyce's head? Or were we nodding to the structure of the actual event and giving online viewers a peek into the actual, real time address? Ultimately, we decided that the double screens had to be represented in some way. So, we tried to place them according to where they would have been if you were looking at the stage head on. Admittedly, this solution is not without flaws, but we weren't going to be able to honor the tone and feeling of the talk without replicating the double screens.
In order to recreate the vibe of the original Chair's Address while putting our own semi-disruptive twist on it, we decided that the two screens shouldn't be synchronous throughout the video: One visualization is always ahead of the other by a few seconds, or from another section of the address altogether. During Joyce's address in Houston, the technology did not allow for the two screens to show different visualizations (Joyce was using only one laptop to output the visuals), but our re-creation was not limited in that way. We felt that by having the two screens show two different images simultaneously, we could more concretely and deliberately enact Joyce’s disruptions. Because the video of the visualizations (created in the Media Lab and visualizing Joyce's audio there), were not representing the actual audio we used in most of the video (recorded in Houston), we were not bound by fidelity: The images were not representing Joyce's audio exactly, and so could be placed anywhere. Thus, our use of asynchronicity creates a slightly disruptive and more visually interesting experience.
Evoking Disruption and Switching to Fullscreen for Emphasis
In addition to replicating the double screens, we were concerned with evoking the same sense of disruption in our video remediation that Joyce created during her live address. We needed to maintain that sense of authenticity while respecting Joyce's request to keep her words intact. We did this by altering how Joyce and the disruptive screens appeared to the viewer. The video switched from a view of the podium with two screens (one on each side of Joyce) to a full screen shot of the visualizations. These shifts occurred when Joyce was suggesting that members of our discipline make something new, disrupt the status quo, or solve problems through innovation. Our goal with these transitions in the video was to highlight the actions Joyce wanted the audience members to take.
An example of this can be watched below, where the video switches from Joyce at the podium to a full screen with a glitched moving image of Joyce, just as Joyce begins to explain, "I believe that you can create value for yourselves and society" (23:54). We used this effect multiple times throughout the video in order to call attention to such moments where Joyce attempts to motivate or make a call to action. The screen becomes a digital version of the disruptions she's calling for while also mimicking what occurred on the two screens behind her at the live address in Houston. With this approach, we felt we had found the balance we sought between crafting a product our client wanted and maintaining our own visions as designers. The split screen and use of whole images that literally interrupted the presented visual punctuated Joyce's call for making, disrupting, and innovating while still maintaining the expectations an academic CCCC audience has of its chair and her address.
Combining Conference and Studio Footage and Sound
This project was born out of a mistake. The videographer at CCCC did not record Joyce's entire speech, leaving off perhaps the most crucial part: her call to action. Near the end of the address, Joyce asked her fellow CCCC members to work to "create value and innovate" (40:02). Because the actual footage cut off at an awkward place a few moments later, we decided instead to end the original video footage from Houston immediately following this line. It was at that point that we switched to the video that Joyce and Michael recorded in May in Lubbock. This was a rhetorical choice that we made in an attempt to embody Joyce's call to action, echoing Geoffrey Sirc's (1997) punk philosophy, to "Re Make through innovation and your disruption" (41:36). We hoped that combining the studio recording with the professional video at this juncture would serve as an example of Joyce's call for making, disrupting, and innovating.
We were literally remaking the end of Joyce's talk, and because of that, we were able to add innovative disruptions like the two screens showing disparate images, adding visible screen transitions, shifting the visuals that viewers were required to see at any given time, and adding alternate punk rock accompaniments. The result is a real-world enactment of Joyce's call. In our efforts to structure our rhetorical choices around Joyce's vision, we had to confront our technological challenges with innovation. By paying attention to how we assembled our text, images, sound, and video, we were able to create a video remediation that exemplifies the live address, and replicates the tone and feeling of disruption.