Monthly Archives: September 2017

Video Close-up: Disaster Therapy

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What with all the fires, earthquakes, and tropical storms that reduce entire populations to hunting and gathering in one infernal blow, you can, according to The New York Times, rest assured that you’re not the only one having deep thoughts about Armageddon.

As writer John Scalzi notes, “These aren’t the End Times, but it sure as hell feels like the End Times is getting in a few dress rehearsals…”

In addition to coping with massive environmental destruction, we’re angrily digesting a lack of concern among those powerful enough to make a difference. “Thoughts and prayers,” an off-hand empathetic statement has become an empty gesture, a symbol of indifference to suffering on a large scale, another dose of balloon juice to apply to the burned area.

So let’s all sleep with one eye open and hopefully a basement full of bottled water. And maybe while we’re folding our tarps, we can take a break and create a moving picture that adds dimensional substance (tears, mainly) to the nebulous idea of thoughts and prayers.

I wanted to find more recent examples of people using Mashup video and music to make a point about determination in the face of unthinkable tragedy, but then I realized that folks in Puerto Rico, Florida, Houston, etc. probably have more pressing concerns at the moment.

Los Angeles video artist and television director Zadi Diaz captured the confusion, horror, and resilience of post-Katrina New Orleans, seamlessly set to a wistful tune by Green Day.

This is textbook fusion of music and image—unimaginable chaos and devastation written all over the faces of survivors. The song “Wake Me Up When September Ends” breathes to a beat of trauma spun by a narrator who no longer has the will to resist. Great source material and Diaz’s editing is on point.

Why rely on news footage when you can cadge even more dramatic footage from a Japanese disaster film? YouTube video veteran KaMoMo heightens the tension with a pulse-racing synth soundtrack by Dutch EDM producer Martin Garrix.

Despite the theatricality of this approach, the video cuts deep considering how badly Japan has been ravaged, not only by nature, but the systems incapable of preventing impending disaster. It’s like reality is being directed by Werner Herzog instead of George Lucas, like we were promised.

Hurray! Coldplay goes country in solidarity with Hurricane Harvey survivors, dedicating a new off-brand song to wet and miserable fans in Texas and Florida. This comes to us from Houston businessman Jeff Isola.

Maybe it isn’t the snappiest Nashville knock-off, but good intentions count for a lot when you sell as many records as Coldplay. This is what I meant by adding substance to “thoughts and prayers.” Something real that came from somewhere real.

Four ways to help Puerto Rico: