Below, you will find two samples of group video essay project authors statements, and the subsequent videos the groups produced, to give you a sense of what I’m expecting. See the NOTE sections to see a summary of my comments back to those groups on where they might improve.
Example 1: Romantic Distubance
We want to focus our video around Week 7’s topic of Surveillance.
We will incorporate the themes from Mark Andrejevic’s “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure” and “iSpy: Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era” from Week 3 by using scenes from D. J. Caruso’s Disturbia, which is partly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and other Independent Romantic-Comedies that pertain to a more whimsical narrative.
Ultimately, we will create a video that falls under the genre of a fake trailer that portrays Disturbia as an Independent Romantic-Comedy while also addressing the issue of surveillance becoming a common element of modern day human interactions through social media.
In order to incorporate Andrejevic’s quotes from his article about the “digital enclosure,” we will use him as a “film critic” with his scholarly quotes from his article appearing on title cards as a reflection of the film’s theme of surveillance and the romanticized stalking performed by Shia LaBeouf’s character. We will also use other clips from films that show more forms of “Facebook stalking” and elements of modern day surveillance within the digital enclosure.
NOTE: This is a strong proposal, both in terms of tying the project to course themes, offering a clear sense of how they plan to formulate the video, and the style they plan to use.
Example 2: “Cyborgs Among Us”
The goal of our group is to discuss and comment on the increasing pervasiveness of user based electronics in the modern social sphere. In addition, we wish to explore the inseparability and reliance between user and device. We plan to focus our argument through the lens of a Cyborg based argument, and will use Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto and Hayle’s Posthumanism articles for guidance.
Our argument will focus on the question “Are we headed towards a society of ‘Cyborgs, due to our reliance and over-saturation of technology’?” We propose that indeed we are slowly starting to become an embodiment of a cyborg as a society. We still start by defining what a cyborg is, in the digital culture sense, and move to real life examples of people starting to “act” like machines in the constant and regular saturation of social media, technology, and our gadgets. We will include a voice over narration of our argument to accompany the visual examples being shown.
We will be pulling videos from multiple sources from the internet for our video. We would like to include the intro sequences from Dawn of the Dead or some other sort of zombie movie. We also want to depict news reports talking about how the world is ending or that something mysterious is happening, as well as pull clips from the video game Deus Ex, a game that allows the player to have augmentations and add machine parts to their bodies. All of this will help us to make our argument about the shift toward cyborgs.
NOTE: This author’s statement would be slightly stronger if they had: 1. Engaged with the reading more directly in terms of considering this through the lens of posthumanism, and 2. If they had a slightly clearer picture of what form the video would take (as you can see below, the final product is a visual essay). I do like the visuals here, and they help you visualize the sort of the video material the group plans to collect. If you have a specific type of video style in mind, include an example for reference.
Example 3: “Who’s Watching?”
Our group has decided to focus on the subject of surveillance, particularly of how it relates to the amount of privacy we think we have as opposed to the amount privacy we truly have. We reject the gratuitous increase of surveillance and the attempts to normalize it in society.
We are planning to break it down to three different components: the prevalence of Google and the universality of marketing, the communal wealth of personal information available on social media, and the rise of governmental surveillance, particularly the NSA. We plan to critique the positive portrayals of these types of surveillance, and the attempts to instill complacency in the surveilled by the surveillers.
To conclude, we will pose the questions “When does it end? How will it end? How can we stop the inevitable?” Our group sees a bleak future if the rate of surveillance is not curbed.
NOTE: This would be stronger if it were more focused, and rooted directly in course concepts like the “digital enclosure.” As you can see below, they focused this considerably into a dynamic fan vid. This is an example of a relatively unfocused proposal that turned into a great finished project.