The Last Lion King of Scotland

Curator's Note

With the age of the internet and such websites as YouTube, GoogleVideo, and Ebaumsworld.com, I’ve discovered that new found footage media tended to stray away from the obscure found film scavenged in trash dumps to more mainstream and visible footage from popular Hollywood culture. The implications of this are many, but of interest to me was what effect this transition from using unknown footage to highly visible footage had on the work as an art piece. For me, I have been watching video mashups on YouTube for years without ever having considered the theoretical and artistic implications of such mashups until very recently. I decided then to create my own movie trailer mashup in the vein of such works as “Must Love Jaws” or “Ten Things I Hate About Commandments” in order to ascertain for myself the artistic choices made in doing so.

In creating “The Last Lion King of Scotland”, a mashup movie trailer using audio extracted from “The Last King of Scotland” movie trailer incorporated into “Lion King” footage, I found that the act of CREATING a video mashup was rooted in the act of DECONSTRUCTING it. Not only was I deconstructing the actual footage and audio, I was, on a deeper level, deconstructing the cinematic codes employed in video and audio trailers and also how they interact. I discovered how audio cues signal visual transitions and vice versa.

In choosing the two movies that I did for “The Last Lion King of Scotland” I also wanted to explore transitioning from 2D animation in a fantastical, animal world gone awry, to a live-action movie in a real, current world gone awry. Also, the mashing of two movies based on plight in Africa will inevitably raise issues of the exploitation and image of Africa in cinema as well. Perhaps the “The Last King of Scotland” was a strange choice of a movie as it was credited as one of the few, honest portrayals of Africa in recent Hollywood film, but my choice was in large part driven by the motive of a witty title stereotypical of these movie trailer mash-ups.

In the end, I can’t help but ponder about the usefulness of such discourse and theoretical wonderings of such work. Knowing the target audience of my piece intimately, as I was (and in many ways, still am) a member of it, I know that not many will be watching “The Last Lion King of Scotland” for its artistic implications in the field of New Media, appropriation, and found footage. They will be watching it to waste 3 minutes of their lives to avoid having to write an essay, or to make the time at their boring office job go by just a little bit faster. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

Comments

Jason Mittell's picture

Nice job - I would highly

Nice job - I would highly recommend the pedagogical possibilities of having students do such projects. I recently had students make remix videos to explore how different media genres and forms can speak to each other - both educational and fun! For one good example from my class, see here

Avi Santo's picture

Since meaning-making for

Since meaning-making for these types of mash-ups seems to require a certain amount of intertextual knowledge (you probably do not have to have seen both — or either — films, but you have to have some understanding of their generic conventions or plots garnered from previews, promos, and other materials surrounding each production), I’m wondering whether the video or audio track is given a privileged position in these deconstructions. Does the audio track comment on the video? The video on the audio? Do they comment on one another? Do they work together to create some sort of hybrid meta-commentary? Is there an aesthetic/sensorial hierarchy that guides our intertextual reading strategies?

Kathleen Fitzpatrick's picture

This is really fantastic --

This is really fantastic — thanks, Davis! Jason, I’d love to hear more about the context in which you had students do remix projects — what was the class? How was it structured? This is something I’d love to incorporate into one of my classes, but am unsure about the amount of time that would need to be spent introducing them to the technical end of things…

Jason Mittell's picture

Well, the class is called

Well, the class is called Media Technology & Cultural Change and its “hook” is that all projects in the course are done in a digital form, encouraging students to make media criticism that also reflects on the modes of expression being used beyond the written essay. All the assignments are on the website - and the only way it works (which is still up for debate) is because we have an associated lab session scheduled to have a technologist train students on software (FinalCutPro, Photoshop, blogging, wikis, etc.). I don’t want to hijack Davis’s thread, but I’ll post some reflections on the course once it’s done in May on my own blog…

[...] But in one of the most

[…] But in one of the most interesting examples of a media mashup, a point is made that the process begins with deconstruction of content, then putting it together in a way that forms a new idea. The MediaCommons Project’s In Media Res has a mashup called “The Last Lion King of Scotland“, a video that uses footage from “The Lion King” and soundtrack clips from “The Last King of Scotland” (yes, it does sound odd, and it is!). […]

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