mmapmaker (mmapmaker) wrote in non_txt,
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mmapmaker
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Constructed Reality Vids

I wanted to rec a couple of my favourite vids, but I was uncertain in just which post they should go. They're definitely not slash, so they could go in the Favorite Gen or Het Vids thread. These vids, however, are examples of a type that I thought might deserve it's own thread of discussion: Constructed Reality Vids. Except I can't quite get my arms around that concept well enough to explain it to others. Is there a litmus test that will identify constructed reality vids? I don't have such a test, but I'd like one. laurashapiro suggested that I start the thread, so we all might, you know, discuss this and figure it out together. -g-



*****


When is a vid a constructed reality vid, and when is it not? In order to decide that, we must first have a definition of constructed reality (CR).

Generically speaking, I think constructed reality is when a vid takes a show's characters and puts them in a made-up situation -- one not found in or defined by their canon. Although a CR vid may contain slash, re-telling an episode or story-arc while adding in the slash would not necessarily make a vid CR.

Confusing? Below are some examples that might help. All of the vids referenced can be found here.


Definitely Constructed Reality

Title: Opportunities
Song / Artist: Opportunities by Pet Shop Boys
Vidder: killabeez and lapillus
Fandom: Highlander

This clever vid tells a story about three people with different skill sets, coming together for mutual gain. And it opens with a big clue that it's going to be a CR vid -- this text announcement:

MEANWHILE... In an Alternate Universe...
...not so different from our own...
Our Heroes turn to a life of crime...

Knowing the fandom or clip context isn't necessary to understand what's going on, because the lyrics and the visuals are very easy to follow. As is often the case, however, having contextual reference does enrich the viewing experience.

Opportunities is a CR vid because the story it tells -- that of Duncan, Amanda and Methos banding together for one or more big heists -- didn't happen in canon. The story exists because specific clips were found that visually illustrate the lyrics in a given song. While the clips come from episodes (Highlander: The Series and Highlander: The Raven), and episodes are canon, using the clips in this way is not an interpretation of canon -- it's an Alternate Universe.

Constructed Reality, then, can also be defined as Alternate Universe, a term many folks may be more familiar with in fanfiction.


Probably Constructed Reality

Title: Mack the Knife
Song / Artist: Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin
Vidder: killabeez
Fandom: Highlander

I'm less certain about Mack the Knife being a CR vid. The song on which it is based tells the story of an unscrupulous yet irresistible gangster, Mack the Knife. Our Noble Hero, Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod -- who goes by the nickname Mac -- plays the title role. Other characters from the series play other roles named in the lyrics: Joe Dawson is the unfortunate (and missing) Louie Miller. Tessa is Jennie Diver; Amanda is Sukey Tawdry; Dr. Anne is Lotte Lenya and Methos is Lucy Brown (stealth slash!)

The reason I think it might be CR is that the clips from the show are used to tell a story not found in canon. The reason I'm not sure if it's CR is that the characters in the story being told are not actually characters from the show -- they're not Duncan, Amanda, Methos, Joe, etc. -- they're Mack the Knife and his ...associates. So, if anything, perhaps this is a constructed reality of an alternate universe. Or something like that.


Not Constructed Reality

Title: Don't Mind Me
Song / Artist: Don't Mind Me by Lucy Kaplansky
Vidder: killabeez
Fandom: Highlander

To understand what something *is*, it often helps to understand what something *is not*. Therefore I offer this third vid for comparison.

Don't Mind Me is a slash vid. Its lyrics tell a story of unrequited love. Together, the lyrics and the selected clips explain everything about Methos and his actions and motivations: he loves Duncan. The two have philosophical differences; they argue about big things and little things; they use words and weapons as foreplay; they tease each other, help each other, hurt each other.... But there's something missing in their great romance: Duncan doesn't love Methos the way Methos wants him to do. Still, Methos keeps coming back, holding out hope that Duncan's feelings will change.

What makes this vid *not* CR is that the story is simply a different interpretation of canon events. The vid doesn't create new events as the two above vids did. Instead, it takes existing events and looks at them through a slash lens, looking for slash subtext in character actions and motivations.


*****


The difficult thing for me has always been how to define constructed reality, because where does that leave slash? If a series doesn't have slash, and someone makes a slash vid, is that vid automatically CR? I don't think so, using these examples as guidelines. But that's only me, basing my answer on these vids. Bigger than this small set of examples, I can't answer the questions I'm asking.

How about everyone else? What are your thoughts about Constructed Reality Vids? Is there a better definition, 'cause this one falls apart pretty quickly. Are there other vids that might help explain the concept? And just where does slash fit in?
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  • ::tap tap:: Is this thing on?

    Remember this comm? For those of us not going to con.txt this year, maybe we could have some kind of virtual gathering here.

  • Notcapade

    Kicking things off: To all those of you going to Escapade, safe travels and happy gathering! To those of you who are not going (like me), I issue…

  • Rename this community!

    The few respondents have been unanimous in liking the idea of having a standing "I can't go to Con X; bummer" community, so now I come to you to ask…