Man With a Movie Camera: The Global Remake is a participatory video shot by people around the world who are invited to record images interpreting the original script of Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera, upload them to http://dziga.perrybard.net where software developed specifically for this project archives, sequences and streams the submissions as a film. As people can upload the same shot more than once infinite versions of the film are possible.
The work explores the capabilities of the internet to achieve global collaboration by encouraging culturally diverse participation and by developing software which accepts input from many sources (e.g. mobile phone, digital still camera, video, screen-grab) allowing for the greatest range of participation.
To ensure that uploads would not be from the usual places 12 foreign correspondents were commissioned (Brazil, Lebanon, Israel, Columbia, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Japan, China, Korea, Mexico,Thailand) whose role is to spread the word through their mailing lists and to organize the upload of scenes or shots that add up to a minimum of one minute in length.
Man With A Movie Camera was selected because of Vertov's intentions as a filmmaker to document daily activities. The film itself is a database of shots. Although it is structured around a day from sunrise to sunset that day is synthesized using footage from three different cities and interrupted by a second narrative which is the diary in the life of a cameraman (a worker). It is edited in anything but a linear fashion using techniques as sophisticated as today's video editing softwares. There are no shots longer than 22 seconds making it very contemporary in rhythm.
The intention of the project is to orchestrate a fluid work that invites participation, that continues to grow after it is launched, and that results in a database of personal perspectives where evidence of politics and history is filtered through the lens of individual rather than state philosophies- in Vertov's terms "the decoding of life as it is". It is intended for the web, for screening in public space, theatres, film festivals, museums, galleries.
In creating the database version Vertov's experiment enters the 21st century. Its original form and content pose interesting questions about the nature of documentary that are still relevant almost a century later.
One of my persistent concerns is the question of access, the digital divide, who is included, who is left out. I am particularly interested in public space as a venue.
In 2000 I set up a screen in the Staten Island Ferry Terminal Building in New York to present The Terminal Salon, a portrait of the community done in collaboration with local residents who shot all the video. I considered that a local channel. When we were testing the projection passersby asked how they could be on the screen and I had no way to do that.
While I was working on The Terminal Salon I was invited to participate in VideoArchaeology in Sofia. I decided to reshoot four minutes of Man With A Movie Camera in collaboration with a Bulgarian artist, Boyan Dobrev, who wanted to learn about video. Sofia in 1999 was in a transition and I thought the parallel could be interesting.The footage we shot as very much a copy of the original leading me to question the possibilities of the remake. Putting those two experiences together led to my current project Man With a Movie Camera:The Global Remake. Man With a Movie Camera: The Global Remake is a participatory video shot by people around the world who are invited to record images interpreting the original script of Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera, upload them to http://dziga.perrybard.net where software developed specifically for this project archives, sequences and streams the submissions as a film. As people can upload the same shot more than once infinite versions of the film are possible.