aPpRoPiRaTe! by Sven Koenig
APpRoPiRaTe! is an attempt to appropriate movies found in file-sharing networks and turn them into art by revealing the real nature of such video files. ... This software's aim is to hack a found video file by just changing the structure of the file to turn it into something visually completely different without any video processing. ... [...]
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Sven Koenig’s work matches Misuse of Technology category best. He reveals what developers of existing video compression tools do their best to hide. Usually a compressed video looks almost the same as the original one, but its structure is very different. Just dig a bit deeper into it, and instead of a firm file construction you will see a shaky structure that immediately falls apart, but beautifully, artistically! Many had witnessed this beauty when downloading broken encoded videos from the net and playing them back, but only Sven Koenig got an insight to reveal it as art. The content of the original video becomes important here, but only as a source for the ‘broken’ one, that is why one can put aPpRoPiRaTe! in both Appropriation and Data Transformation categories.
The output of the Sven’s software looks like a hypnotic flow of semi-recognizable images of strange colours and with big pixels sometimes, so we cannot escape relating it to our Glitch and Psychedelics experiences. The aesthetics of the aPpRoPiRaTe! is unquestionably of the digital, computer nature; and the output is pretty striking as it clashes this “cold”, glitchy, dysfunctional beauty of revealed compression algorithms with a “sweet”, seductive and glamour one of the original videos, which are mainly ripped-off Hollywood movies and MTV videos - most common content on P2P networks.
For sure, the project contributes to the theme of overproduction in the media sphere or Data Pollution; - visual data becomes important not as such, because of its content, but as a raw material for further production. In this sense aPpRoPiRaTe! parasites, pirates on the commercial products and would not be possible without them. This, on one hand, puts the project and its author in a marginal position and confronts with the mainstream media production world, but on the other hand, protects them from this all-mighty opponent, making “re-Appropiration” practically impossible.

Alexei Shulgin

by admin, posted 15 Feb 2006

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