Acme Video?

In comics and cartoons, generic goods come in containers with bland white labels and boring block fonts. There is an archetypally generic image of 'the generic' and it's not pretty. But what does generic video look like? Stock photography and video is a major industry, catering primarily to low-budget ad campaigns and TV productions. If nothing else, the ubiquity of this material makes it worthy fodder for artistic consideration. Curator Nancy Buchanan purchased a collection of non-copywritten stock films and made them available to thirteen artists, under the auspices of a 'Generic Remix Project,' which screens tonight at Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive. The 43-minute program defamiliarizes normative representations of the world's 'content,' as it is epitomized in the original footage and its organizational system. The artists' decisions to include, magnify, or expunge elements of the videos mirrors the logic at play in the design of the visual and verbal information conveyed in generic products. The end result, however, is significantly less bland than Acme birdseed. - Marisa Olson