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04 July 2006 @ 09:39 pm
Vid-love  
talitha78 asked Why do we like vids? and I discovered that I had a lot to say. *blush*

I'm not a vidder. I'm unlikely to ever be a vidder. But of all the forms of fannish art, they are probably my favourite. And this from someone who works with text for a living because it's my passion. Part of the buzz about vids for me is the glamour of seeing a creation I could not possibly make myself. Part of the enjoyment is pure aesthetic appreciation, or finding the construction clever, or getting a giggle out of the humour. But at a deeper level, the reasons why I like vids are quite complex.

In due course, talitha78 will post an essay from a vidder's perspective, and the comments in repsonse to her original post have been fascinating. Here I've collated my original response to talitha78 and fleshed it out a little, to give a

In order to explain why I love vids so much, I needed to articulate my relationship with music and images. Different people's minds work in different ways. Some people are highly visual. They think in pictures (sort of like a 'visual slipstream' in their minds). Others think in words or concepts. Some people even dream in words/concepts. They don't actually see images in their 'mind's eye'. Most of us, I believe, have a mix of both types of thinking. In a normal day, I will spend some of my time consciously articulating in my mind (like holding a running conversation with myself) but also part of the time letting my mind 'drift'. In the drift time, images often arise in my mind, which is where the visual comes in to play. Sometimes I have a mixture of concepts and images in my head at once.

I learnt a lot about how the mind works while recovering from depression. Whole quadrants of my mind 'freed up' once the depression cleared. One of the things I learnt was better control over switching in and out of these two thinking styles. Neither style is 'better' than the other per se. It is good to be able to think in words and concepts in order to construct logical arguments, problem solve, etc. But it's also good to be more free-thinking (apart from anything else, it relieves stress to sink into the visual world for a while). This is sort of a right-brain/left-brain thinking thing, but it's not even as simple as that. Some more word-oriented people can be highly creative, but only with words. They make excellent writers and critics, but aren't known for their visual acuity. Some lucky people combine skill in both.

So to explain how this relates to music first of all, I'll relate a moment of realisation that I had a couple of months back. I had just had an extremely emotional altercation with my father and was driving back home listening to the radio. A sweeping atmospheric track by Royksopp came on the radio and I started crying as I listened to it. I wasn't having conscious thought at the time--I was too in shock. But I responded strongly to the song at a subconscious level, and visual landscapes opened in my mind. I got home before the song finished but I felt compelled to wait until the song ended. Thinking about this later I realised that what the song was giving me in that moment was a way to work through emotion subconsciously. The music arced in a way that triggered catharsis for me. Good music often does, I think. And so I needed to hear to the end to reach the natural emotional conclusion. The music and my emotions were entangled together.

I talked this over with a friend who is a purely word/concept thinker. She could understand what I related but she had rarely experienced such moments herself. From here on, my ideas are supposition, but this made me think that maybe for some people music IS a way of working through emotions. Why do we listen to some songs over and over? For many people I think it's because it taps some inner landscape of emotion.

I'm getting to vids! Promise! Vids also tap into our emotions, but in a very specific way--they access the emotions related to a particular preexisting text. For those of us in fandom, there is a lot of emotion wrapped up in our favoured text. For those of us interested in subtext, there's a whole range of emotions within us begging for cathartic release--we don't get it in the actual text. Fanfic also serves this purpose, but it does so in a more 'conscious' way. Those of us with visual minds conjure up images while we read. But with vids, we don't have to do that work--we're already *in* the image. We can relax and be 'swept away'.

There are many consequences of this:
- some vids express 'trapped' or 'hidden' emotions within/about the show
- some vids are cathartic through using grief, others through using humour or joy
- some vids tell a story--by moving through a traditional story arc, they reach narrative catharsis
- because they work on the more subconscious or visual part of our mind, vids may give us insights we might not otherwise have--insights at an instinctive/emotional level, rather than a purely intellectual one (I've certainly had that experience and some of my favourite vids are those that have triggered that within me)
- a vid may simply be good by echoing the 'spirit' of the original text (after all, we're obsessed with it for a reason!)
- vidding draws attention (Brechtian 'verfremdungseffekt') to the degree to which the visual medium in constructed. We're often more conscious of construction in vids than in the original text because we know the vidder, or we can see the editing more obviously. That's not a bad thing--in fact, I think a good vid watcher becomes a more highly tuned viewer. (Aside: this is also one of the reasons I think Smallville lends itself to vidding--the original creators value the visual as a medium of storytelling as much as the plots or dialogue, although talitha78 tells me that from a vidder's perspective there isn't enough diversity of shots. However, what Smallville does have is a lot of strong imagery, and from a vid fan's perspective, I love to see how this is used by vidders for their own purposes.)

Of course most people don't stop to think why they like vids, or why they like some vids more than others--they just like 'em. And that kind of proves my point--they fill a subconscious emotional hole for us. They create satisfaction through catharsis or completion.

Because they are constructed (mostly!) from the content of the original visual text, they are also very 'true' to the original. So when a vid really taps what we as viewers personally feel about the original show, or echo how we respond to it, we are happy and excited. We like it.

Lyrics and music also play a big part. Music dictates mood and emotion, lyrics suggest mental connections or other concepts. They supplement the original and help build a different narrative. Lyrics are a great jumping off point to create a fresh take on the original text. This doesn't mean they have to be prescriptive--many new vidders begin by being very literal with their linking of lyric and image, which is understandable. But I love seeing people play with less obvious lyric/image combinations, and the most sophisticated vidders create links that seem to magically resonate on the right frequency even though I can't always articulate why! (It just feels right.)

These are just some of the reasons I like vids. Regarding why some people like vids more than others--that's still tricky to work out. At first I wondered if it's mainly visual thinkers that like them best. But on the other hand, for some people who are more word thinkers, watching a vid can be a nice 'break' from heavy conceptual work and internal dialogue. I'm a funny paradox, because I'm mainly a word/concept person, but I love the visual world. I consciously decide to 'go there' when I watch movies, when I watch vids, when I listen to music. But I also intellectualise the process. So it works on two levels for me. And hence I get a double kick out of it! Maybe others do too.

As a final note, I'll say that the more vids I watch, the more I learn about what I like and why, and the more finely tuned my appreciation of the genre becomes. And I'm sure my clever friends list will be able to enlighten me even further, especially as I know a lot of you are far more articulate about music and images than I am.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
Current Music: fish tank bubbling
 
 
 
Vicki: in my dreamsmyownghost on July 4th, 2006 12:47 pm (UTC)
i'm only half-way through this, and i'm reacting with mental fireworks: yes yes yes! oh yes. i'll calm down now, really. *g*

>>for some people music IS a way of working through emotions.

some of the ideas in your post i've written about in my personal LJ, to do with how i see the world via words rather than visually, and how music works for me emotionally. i use it as mood therapy, often, and yes, it can definitely be cathartic on a level below the surface.

just the other day, i commented in another friend's journal to say that i was struck by how her beautiful photos of flowers were perfectly meshed with the poetic musings posted under them. i almost said i'd buy a book if she published one. she replied by saying, unprompted, that she was considering a book. i think it is unusual for the visual and the verbal to be that well balanced in someone. or maybe i just hadn't noticed it before.

time to finish your post. thanks for this one! i'm going to put it in my memories.

Vicki: sandvossmyownghost on July 4th, 2006 12:53 pm (UTC)
p.s., now that i've finished reading. it seems to me, and has for years, that cinematic imagery, especially when the films are seen on a large screen in a dark theater, is so much like dreaming. the images work on the subconscious and stay with us. videos, though on the small computer screen in a lighted room, function much the same way, i think, if we really tune into them.

i've seen SV videos that were as dramatic and involving as a movie. the first one i ever saw was based on Memoria, with heart-wrenching music by beth orton, and it broke my heart. it no doubt shaped how i feel about lex to this day. (i have yet to see the episode itself.)

fascinating. *pretending to be Spock*
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - myownghost on July 5th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - myownghost on July 5th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex feedback makes me smilebop_radar on July 4th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
i'm reacting with mental fireworks
That's one of the best pieces of feedback I've ever had! *treasures*

some of the ideas in your post i've written about in my personal LJ, to do with how i see the world via words rather than visually, and how music works for me emotionally
Oh cool! I'm more and more interested in music as mood therapy, and also the connections between image and text and image and music.

i think it is unusual for the visual and the verbal to be that well balanced in someone. or maybe i just hadn't noticed it before.
Wow! That's such a cool story about your friend. And I think it's very unusual for the visual and the verbal to be that well balanced. I've vox popped a lot of my friends and acquaintances on this matter and it's fascinating to find out about different people's minds. Some people are very visually and aesthetically literate. I am not. But a good description I got one day from someone who IS visually literate was that they can walk into a room and feel that the placement of a piece of furniture is jarring. It grates on them. For me, an out of place comma grates. So we had a good laugh about how we're oblivious to the other's concerns.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post so much.
(no subject) - myownghost on July 5th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
carpenyxcarpenyx on July 4th, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
Very well said, I know that I'm a highly visual person and I sometimes relate more to vids than I do fan fiction, yet I absoluately love to write and aspire to be a writer but only thoughr visualizing can I really write to my higher potential.

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Very well said, I know that I'm a highly visual person and I sometimes relate more to vids than I do fan fiction, yet I absoluately love to write and aspire to be a writer but only thoughr visualizing can I really write to my higher potential.

<<think that maybe for some people music IS a way of working through emotions. Why do we listen to some songs over and over? For many people I think it's because it taps some inner landscape of emotion.>>

I completely agree with this statement, I find that when something goes wrong in my life, whether it's a minor thing or major, I tend to listen to the same song or couple of songs, over and over and eventually do see how it helps in aiding me to work through said emotion.

<<Of course most people don't stop to think why they like vids, or why they like some vids more than others--they just like 'em.>>

Agreed! I really don't stop to think about them, I think there are been a few where I did but on average, this doesn't happen, actually reading your post makes me want to watch more vids and actually think about them more. :)

<<I'll say that the more vids I watch, the more I learn about what I like and why, and the more finely tuned my appreciation of the genre becomes.>>

Very, very true for me too.

Again, this was well written and I could go on and on in response to this. ;) but I'll leave it at that for now, thank you though! It was an enjoyable read and got me thinking, always a good thing. :)
carpenyxcarpenyx on July 4th, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC)
really dont know what the error was, lmao. oh well. :P
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ericabop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
only through visualizing can I really write to my higher potential
See that's really interesting! Because I know some writers who can't visualise at all. But for me, when I try to write, I'm usually trying to get across in words what I can see fully formed in my mind's eye.

when something goes wrong in my life, whether it's a minor thing or major, I tend to listen to the same song or couple of songs, over and over and eventually do see how it helps in aiding me to work through said emotion.
Cool! Yes, I agree. I have had the same experience and suspect many people have. It is quite funny when you see someone do it (I've had neighbours play the same track for days and wanted to kill them!) but when you're 'in' that experience, you can come to see how it works for you. Although I think it depends on how emotionally intelligent you are. Some people may never be able to articulate why they need to listen to a particular track interminably. ;-)

reading your post makes me want to watch more vids and actually think about them more
Aw yay! I think that's a good thing. *g*

It was an enjoyable read and got me thinking, always a good thing. :)
That's the best feedback I could hope for! A good thing indeed. *g* I'm so glad it sparked your interest.
slinklingslinkling on July 4th, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)
If you don't mind a tangent...
I'm not really qualified to talk about vids, having seen only two or three. I find them a little bizarre, to be honest, but then, until getting hooked on SV I found all of fandom bizarre. And a fannish friend (a RL friend who is fannish, I mean, though she's not into SV) recently gave me a stack of DVDs of vids, to try to get me hooked there as well, so if I ever get around to watching them, presumably I'll come up with more to say.

But I'm intrigued by what you have to say about music and emotion, and am wondering what you think of "Moulin Rouge." Which people tend to either love or hate (I love it), and which functions on exactly the premise you're describing, that music provides access to this realm of heightened emotion, and music paired with intensified visual imagery pretty much lifts us out of one (intellectual, verbal) reality and into another (freedom, beauty, truth, love).
Beckysadface on July 4th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: If you don't mind a tangent...
*jumps in with nothing intelligent to say, natch*

I love Moulin Rouge a rather stupid amount and in fact, I was so intensely into the story when I watched it (the 2nd time incidentally, I dont really count when I went to the cinema) and the whole feel of it with just yknow, the whole production that I can't even listen to the Police version of Roxanne without crying now. I almost feel like I formed a relationship with that film or something *shrugs*

Music videos in the same way tend to make a profound impact on me if, I don't know how to explain, if im in the state of mind to connect with something. My favourite fanvid, voldything's Accidentally In Love, I watched for the first time when I was so upset about Clark/Lex not being friends anymore and even though its one of the happiest videos in the world it makes me so sad because at that time I was just so sad for them.

/ bizarre and unrelated comment.
Re: If you don't mind a tangent... - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clairebop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
Re: If you don't mind a tangent...
Yeah, I was lucky that my first experiences with vids were through recs from people I trusted. So the first vids I saw really 'spoke' to me. Not all of them do. Though once I got more into them as a genre, I find nearly any vid interesting, if only to see why I don't like it!

I love tangents. *g* 'Moulin Rouge' is an interesting example. It didn't quite hit the right 'note' or frequency with me. But I could appreciate what it was trying to do. I suspect I wasn't in the right frame of mind to appreciate it when I first saw it, but I certainly didn't hate it. I think I recall I had a few things that irked me about it at the time, but can't remember the specifics now! However, I definitely agree with you on this:
functions on exactly the premise you're describing, that music provides access to this realm of heightened emotion, and music paired with intensified visual imagery pretty much lifts us out of one (intellectual, verbal) reality and into another (freedom, beauty, truth, love)
Makes me want to read a good essay about it!
Talitha: like_cheap_wine Lex green backgroundtalitha78 on July 4th, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yay, you posted! So cogent and smart. I hope to have mine done this week, but I've actually been preoccupied with vidding, of all things. :) Oh, the irony.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Yay!bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC)
Woot! Preoccupied with vidding is GOOOOOOD. *BG*
Nora Norwich: reading womannorwich36 on July 4th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
This was very interesting to read, if only to explain to me why it is I *don't* get into vids as much as some folks. I mean, when I get a chance to see them I usually enjoy them, but if given a choice between a new vid and a new story I will always go for the story.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kristin and boybop_radar on July 5th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
if given a choice between a new vid and a new story I will always go for the story
See, I'll usually choose the vid. And I'll be completely honest and say that one of the reasons is the time commitment involved, since I'm so time poor. I can watch a vid and post feedback way quicker than I can read most fics. And the second reason is my squeemishness at poor writing--I'm less sensitive to poor vids, so there's not so much of a 'risk' factor. I sound like a terrible snob, I'm sure!

But I'd be interested to know why you don't like vids as much...? Is it because you're very word-oriented? Or you don't have that need for connection to music and/or image for emotional catharsis?
(no subject) - norwich36 on July 5th, 2006 12:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norwich36 on July 5th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norwich36 on July 5th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 6th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norwich36 on July 6th, 2006 02:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on July 5th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
CapnZebbie: stalkerkittycapnzebbie on July 5th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Fascinating essay! I'm a vidder, and I'm almost completely inarticulate about why I like them, and why I enjoy doing it. I wasn't even able to comment on talitha's post because I couldn't quite figure out what to say--except that I agree with what everyone else said. :)

But yes, it's telling stories with pictures. Even though I've been having trouble writing for a while, I can still tell stories this way.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: books are lovebop_radar on July 5th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you found it interesting! I think the sense of being inarticulate about why you like them is a common one--as my mum's prep class are fond of saying (in response to Why do you like it?): Because it's good, miss!