Wednesday, December 19, 2007

24 1/2

Other than its repulsive politics of fear, I had not really thought much about the show 24 until I wrote a script and edited these parody videos in connection with learning to use Final Cut Pro. One of the things I was struck by, as I manipulated the clips through the software user-interface, was the fact that much of the 24 aesthetic is actually shaped by Final Cut's affordances and constraints and that its visual style may be an example of what Lev Manovich calls "transcoding," since making those superimposed boxes is extremely easy in Final Cut and doesn't even involve outputting content from a digital effects program like After Effects.

Warning: The part one video is actually not very funny, since it's being used for set-up and is a little too close to the plot and characterization of the actual show, which I discovered really does feature an amputated digit a few shows into the first series. But with the writers' strike canceling the season, this is the best that fans can do for new content.

Part One

Part Two

Earlier this year, I had an interesting conversation with one of the early scholars of digital rhetoric, Jay David Bolter, who had some reflections about torture and 24. Peter Rauch has also been doing some interesting work about 24 and depictions of torture in videogames, in which it always functions as a kind of efficacious cheat. Rauch proposes a "serious game" about torture that would show the costs of human rights abuses.

One other digital media fun fact: 24 show runner Howard Gordon once worked with my better half, Mel Horan a.k.a. "Mr. Liz," in making the anti-consumerist webtoon series Garbage Island. No ticking clock or evil terrorists in that show.

Update: these parodies that incorporate pizza delivery and MP3 files of Ashlee Simpson are much funnier.

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