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November 19, 2009 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Keith Schofield(previously)'s new video for Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck has ruffled a few feathers.

In a recent interview, Schofield is very open about his creative method: "I’m just always looking for new ideas. I mainly do this by spending a ton of time online. I go to a lot of link filter sites (like reddit.com), read a lot of wikipedia, watch a lot of youtube videos, look at found photo sites (like ffffound.com). By absorbing enough stuff, the ideas eventually come."
(For completeness' sake, read Schofield's treatment, and watch the rather inferior label's cut.)
posted by progosk (33 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's lousy that Schofield ripped off William Hundley, but in the process he kind of did make the greatest music video of all time.
posted by voronoi at 2:13 PM on November 19, 2009


heaven can wait: meatloaf, michael jackson, iron maiden, dean martin, sandra cretu
posted by past at 2:18 PM on November 19, 2009


I'm going to have to watch that a bunch more times before I can even figure out what I think about it, and then probably a couple more times to see if I can figure out what happened to Beck's neck.

But if the guy is lifting other people's art so blatantly without attribution, that's pretty lame. Especially when he says in the "recent interview" link, "It all comes back to having ideas!" It seems like it all comes back to finding ideas, for him, which is not the same thing.

On the other hand, if he made a video and gave credit to all the original sources, that would be very awesome, like a collage of reenactments.
posted by padraigin at 2:22 PM on November 19, 2009


I can't help but think of Zorg when I see Beck in this video.
posted by TheJoven at 2:33 PM on November 19, 2009


Art is just something that the Internet poops out of its own volition.

One of the most shittastic things about the internet is the fact that every piece of art that is not made by a famous person you see on TV or in the movies is just something "some guy" did. Blogs and social media are buried in a deluge of unattributed and and decontextualized work. Of course Schofield did not credit his sources, none of his immediate sources did either.
posted by idiopath at 2:34 PM on November 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


copyc*nts

(url obviously NSFW, though the content is SFW)
posted by johnny novak at 2:35 PM on November 19, 2009


appropriation, this isn't about having ideas, it is about repackaging them without the originator's consent or giving credit.

I am a curmudgeon, I admit it, and as such I can say many years on I think the whole "ideas want to be free" is bullocks.
posted by edgeways at 2:35 PM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Eh. The surreal images become banal when contextualized in a fucking music video. It's pretty bad. And by bad, I mean boring.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:35 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


On further reflection:

I am offended that any of the creators of this work were credited here. This is just a movie some dude made accompanied by some music some other folks made, probably because they were bored or something. It's not like the names of the particular nobodies who made this particular found video have any relevance here, they are obviously just a bunch of attention whores anyway.
posted by idiopath at 2:40 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Imma let you finish, but
It's lousy that Schofield ripped off William Hundley, but in the process he kind of did make the greatest music video of all time.
OF ALL TIME!
posted by scrump at 2:42 PM on November 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Good artists copy, great artists steal.

And no, I'm not going to credit that quote.
posted by kathrineg at 2:45 PM on November 19, 2009


In school I always heard the same refrain: that if you throw too much money at art, the art begins to suffer. (All other politics aside, an aesthetics professor of mine used to use this as his argument as to why NEA funding needed to just disappear altogether.) This was never a popular opinion among the students and working artists where/when I was studying art, but I have to grudgingly admit that I see it an awful lot; and I have to wonder how true it is. Based on that single notion, I can see why artists rip off "nobodies" when they feel particular pressure to produce something of substance on demand. And helllooo... some unpaid internet people produce some really good stuff. Hmm. I dunno. How different is it, really, from music-sampling or using found objects to create mixed-media stuff?
posted by heyho at 2:51 PM on November 19, 2009


yeah pretty boring, ripoff or not. The scene at the bar is from In Through The Out Door
posted by vronsky at 2:52 PM on November 19, 2009


I'm glad I'm not doing this kind of work. I would live in constant fear that my idea is derived from something I saw on the internet.

In the massive library of similar ideas out there I now that some are maliciously stolen, some are unintentionally stolen, and some just happen to be the same. There is rarely a way to know the difference.

The right thing to do is probably to apologize and acknowledge the original artist, regardless. I suspect that you could end up in a lot of hot water legally by doing so, though.

The video itself is kind of bleak and unsettling.
posted by poe at 2:52 PM on November 19, 2009


Wait, internet mashups and sample based music and turntablism is all cool and good? Unless someone making a video does it, in which case it's wrong and evil?

There should be no intellectual property protection for the concept of a skateboard sitting on a hamburger. Or a fat kid jumping around with a guitar. There's not even room for attribution in a short video presented online. The cool thing would be to also publish some sort of long video with citations, or a web page linking to sources, or something. But that's not obligatory.
posted by Nelson at 3:24 PM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, now I know who puts skateboards on hamburgers. William Hundley. Were it not for the video and the Metafilter post, he'd just be the dude who puts things on hamburgers.
posted by mike_bling at 4:13 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Impressive. I thought the CGI Beck was extremely convincing.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:31 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm glad I'm not doing this kind of work. I would live in constant fear that my idea is derived from something I saw on the internet.

Well, it's inevitable that artists are inspired by things they've seen elsewhere. It's pretty accepted to say, "oh that shot is an homage to shot X in film Y." But that's when the filmmaker doing the homage uses it as part of his original story.

In this case, there is no original story really, just a bunch of other people's ideas strung together. Which is sort of an original idea, but sort of isn't.

Overall, meh.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:32 PM on November 19, 2009


Wait, internet mashups and sample based music and turntablism is all cool and good? Unless someone making a video does it, in which case it's wrong and evil?

I see your point, but typically the subject of an homage (or sample) is already well-known, and its creator has presumably profited from it- that's what makes it ripe for an homage.

I think what's rubbing people the wrong way is that they had these ideas in obscurity, and then this guy comes along with his big budget and famous friends and ganks all their ideas but still tries to be all indie with his wacky funny treatment and everything. So yeah, I can't say it's "stealing" in the normal sense, but the guy comes off as kind of a dick.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:36 PM on November 19, 2009


the guy comes off as kind of a dick

In other words, the perfect choice to make a Beck video!
posted by Nelson at 4:42 PM on November 19, 2009


So it's wrong because he's famous (I know Beck, but not these other two people)? What if another internet nobody had made an equally good video with unattributed "homages" in it? In fact, I will eat my internets if there aren't a thousand examples of this out there.
posted by cmoj at 5:23 PM on November 19, 2009


In this case, there is no original story really, just a bunch of other people's ideas strung together. Which is sort of an original idea, but sort of isn't.

Warhol did it!

I liked the video when I saw it. When I read the treatment I loved it. Beats the shit out of that Weezer video. I'm writing this on an iPhone, and I agree with the guy, they are awesome.
posted by fungible at 6:32 PM on November 19, 2009


This, like a lot of Beck's work, seems to owe something to the Fluxus movement (tradition?), a 60s offshoot of / reaction to Dadaism. According to the Wikipedia article (first link), it involves "blending different artistic media and disciplines." Beck's grandfather, Al Hansen, was "one of the most important Fluxus figures."

I first learned about Fluxus while taking a sculpture - oh, excuse me, assemblage - class in the early nineties. Beck had just hit with Mellow Gold and upon reading his lyrics, there was some question as to what he was on about, what with his giant, sun crushing dildos and what not. Was he just fucking around, having some fun? Or were his songs actually about something? A bit of both, possibly?

According to my professor, the Fluxus thing was about taking unrelated images, objects, etc. and squishing them together to create something new. I felt that was about as accurate a description as any of Beck's approach.
posted by Clay201 at 6:51 PM on November 19, 2009


For time based art, Fluxus work tended to be very slow paced, and sparse, for example in video work it tended to involve very long shots of banal objects or scenes. It was more about isolating individual ideas than it was about cramming together massive numbers of ideas.

Probably the most notable element of Fluxus work was the tendency to antagonize an audience, in particular by being boring, or transgressing the boundaries of the artform in ways meant to provoke.

A random apple from a grocery store on a pedastel with a $8000 price tag. A movie that is just a 10 9 8 ... countdown, over and over. A performer getting up on stage and drinking whiskey until he pukes and doing nothing else of interest.

A whole performance: "a helicopter flies over a field. A piano is dropped on the ground from the helicopter. The end."

I would connect Beck's stuff more with surrealism and pop art.
posted by idiopath at 7:02 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flux film is a representative selection of 37 short Fluxus films.
posted by idiopath at 7:04 PM on November 19, 2009


You will find that Fluxus music has little to no relation to Beck's work.
posted by idiopath at 7:14 PM on November 19, 2009


Well, it's inevitable that artists are inspired by things they've seen elsewhere. It's pretty accepted to say, "oh that shot is an homage to shot X in film Y." But that's when the filmmaker doing the homage uses it as part of his original story.

In this case, there is no original story really, just a bunch of other people's ideas strung together. Which is sort of an original idea, but sort of isn't.


That's a pretty spot on description of Tarantino's Kill Bill.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:13 PM on November 19, 2009


How much you want to bet that guy who came up with the skateboard-on-cheeseburgers has pirated media on his computer?

Ideas want to be free! Copyright is for pussies!
posted by incessant at 9:06 PM on November 19, 2009


Almost forgot: the video needs more "Chaos reigns" talking foxes.
posted by incessant at 9:08 PM on November 19, 2009


incessant: "How much you want to bet that guy who came up with the skateboard-on-cheeseburgers has pirated media on his computer?

Ideas want to be free! Copyright is for pussies!
"

I put plagiarism in a category separate from unauthorized reproduction.
posted by idiopath at 9:11 PM on November 19, 2009


Almost forgot: the video needs more "Chaos reigns" talking foxes.

And scissors! Snip. Snip.

Oh God, I can never unsee that!
posted by cazoo at 10:21 PM on November 19, 2009


That song was excellent. Thank you. Loves me some Beck!
posted by Bageena at 12:56 AM on November 20, 2009


I'm disturbed that Schofield stole the skateboard one when he clearly should have stolen this one.

I'd love to see a complete collection of internet/meme images that obviously match up with the video scenes. Commenter Bunny Greenhouse in the antville.org discussion has begun something like that (@ 18. November 2009, 22:51 - no direct link) , but unfortunately no info about the original images...

I'm also curious whether a bucket of lawyers had something to say about how specific Schofield could be in terms of attribution for his "inspiration"? As a collection of notable internet images woven into a video, it's very cool; as "here are my awesome ideas inspired by all sorts of things," not so much.
posted by taz at 2:06 AM on November 20, 2009


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