Celebrating Kandy Fong: Founder of Fannish Music Video
by Francesca Coppa — Muhlenberg College
November 19, 2007 – 04:01
Remix culture didn’t start with the Internet. Women have been vidding, or making music videos with found footage, since at least 1975, when Kandy Fong made her first slideshows. Inspired by the Beatles filmYellow Submarine, Fong took Star Trek footage from the cutting room floor and synchronized those images to music. Fong performed her shows live at Trek conventions and gatherings, first using one slide projector and then two, clicking between them so she could "cut" faster. By the early 1980s, Fong and other vidders were making vids with two VCRs, often forming collectives in order to share expertise and equipment. We have the featured vid, "Both Sides Now" (1980), literally thanks to Gene Roddenberry; Fong’s slideshow was videotaped so he could have a copy. While of an earlier era both stylistically and technologically, "Both Sides Now" is the grandmother of fannish vids. A vid is a visual essay: a vidder constructs a reading by forcing you to see the text "her way." In "Both Sides Now," Fong emphasizes an aspect of Spock’s character which has been a point of attraction and identification for women: his dual nature as a half-human, half-alien caught between two different cultural and expressive traditions. By creating an intertext between Leonard Nimoy the actor and Leonard Nimoy the singer, Fong gives the unemotional Mr. Spock an unexpectedly poignant inner voice that’s hard to dismiss, since it’s Nimoy’s own. But it’s also a voice fraught with gender slippage: written by Joni Mitchell, the song was popularized by Judy Collins before Nimoy recorded it for his album, The Way I Feel (1968). By staging the contrast between Nimoy’s external appearance and inner voice, Fong foregrounds various kinds of "bothness": human and alien, public and private, male and female, mainstream and resistant reader.