Re: [Frameworks] UbuWeb...HACKED!

From: Anna Biller (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Oct 15 2010 - 10:08:15 PDT

I would never argue that there should not be online platforms for
experimental film to educate audiences and act as an archive. Most
experimental filmmakers would be pleased to get visibility and have
their work advertised on such sites. But that is not the point. No one
is arguing against the concept of the archive. The point is that all
producers of works should have the same rights to distribute their
works or not as they see fit. It's true that those rights can no
longer be enforced due to the practices of the internet. But stealing
is stealing. And having a shaming page copies the practices of the
Pirate Bay, which refused to remove any content regardless of who
asked or what the reasons were. And in a lot of those cases producers
do lose significant revenue from illegal torrents. The owners of
torrent websites subscribe to the same mentality - "it's free
advertisement, it only helps, people will buy the work once they like
it." Not so. Those same people subscribe to the bogey of "the
man" (Disney et al) who are rich and powerful and take resources out
of the hands of the people. But the people they are really hurting are
the independent filmmakers and bands.

A band or filmmaker may have 5,000 fans worldwide, that they've won
through hard touring. Let's say they put out an album or a DVD.
Perhaps 300 of their fans buy it for the cool artwork, but 3,000 more
download it for free. I feel that if you like a band or a filmmaker,
you should be willing to pay 69 cents or 99 cents or whatever for a
song on iTunes, or download a movie from the distributor for $1.99 or
at least get it on Netflix (which by the way doesn't compensate
filmmakers for rentals anyway). There are companies all over the world
who offer a torrent the same day a film comes out, drastically
reducing sales. And even "the man" needs to make money. It costs money
to produce a Hollywood film, and all the costs need to be paid ahead
of time. Most people who work on industry films are just workers of
various kinds. If the studios can't afford to pay all of those people,
all we will get is reality shows, or else films that are so dumbed
down that they can be marketed to every person in every country in the
world (which is pretty much how it already is now). The only way the
studios can insure revenue nowadays is by selling hard tickets to
screenings, or even better, tie-in merchandise (back to Disney).
Creating a buzz for low budget films used to be done through grass
roots advertising, artwork and journalism. I'm all for that. That's
what everyone is arguing a site like Ubuweb does. But if it in fact
did that, it would be a great resource and we wouldn't even be having
this discussion.

On Oct 15, 2010, at 3:09 AM, David Tetzlaff wrote:

> I usually find Anna Biller's posts to list to be thoughtful and sharp
> whether I agree with them or not. But the msg. below makes me wonder
> if Matt Helme is spoofing Ms. Biller's email address:
>> If they really cared and
>> wanted to support experimental film they could buy an inexpensive
>> Brakhage DVD on Amazon and have it shipped to them internationally,
>> and then Marilyn Brakhage could make a dollar or two or fifty cents
>> which would be nice.
> Of course, 'they' do buy the DVDs. What is missing from the discussion
> of film-art-economics an analysis of how audiences for experimental
> work come to exist -- what has to occur in the life of an individual
> to make them want to see experimental films, rent experimental prints,
> buy experimental DVDs. How is an appreciation for this out-of-the-
> mainstream work acquired, and how does it grow and expand? Very few
> people are going to buy that 'inexpensive' Brakhage DVD unless they
> have some acquaintance with Brakhage. And how do people in 'the
> sticks' get such an acquaintance? By things like UbuWeb and Karagarga
> where they can try things out. _Pirates buy more content_ because
> they've had a path to explore their inquisitiveness within their
> financial means, develop the taste and appreciation for free that are
> the pre-conditions for making any kind of financial investment.
> Virtually every form of modern cultural production works this way --
> first one's free kid, then you pay when you want more and better. The
> clearest example being the relationship between radio airplay and
> recording sales in pop music, but it's true (if in somewhat diluted
> form) in other mediums as well.
>> If no one pays for anything and everyone insists on getting
>> everything for free,
> But that is not the case...
>> we will ONLY have the corporations and the work they produce,
>> because no one else will be able to afford to produce anything.
> Which brings up the question, 'how is anyone able to afford to produce
> anything NOW?' And the answer is NOT, 'because of the income generated
> by coop rentals and/or print/dvd sales.' If we ask 'what are the
> economics of being an experimental filmmaker?' we immediately confront
> the fact that the work itself has little direct market value due to
> the lack of auratic status inherent in it's mechanical
> reproducability. AFAIK, no one has ever made a living from the
> receipts of experimental films. The economic value of such filmmaking
> has always resided in the notoriety it brings to the maker, the kind
> of opportunities for other channels of income opened by having one's
> work circulated, noticed, appreciated. These include the ability to
> obtain grants and other subsidies, to obtain academic positions, and
> to increase the value of creative work the artist may do in more
> auratic forms. Matthew Barney is the master of the latter, but I'm
> sure Michael Snow's sculptures are worth more because he's Michael
> Snow.
> We may like this situation or not (I'd rather things worked
> differently myself) but that's how it is, has been, and is likely to
> be. Internet forms like UbuWeb don't change that basic equation.
> I too think it's nice if Marilyn gets some royalty payments, but
> she'll more in the long run the more people know who Stan was and what
> his work was like, which doesn't happen by magic. And since 'Cats
> Cradle' and 'Window Water...' are on the DVD I wonder if Jane Brakhage
> or Carolee Schneemann are getting a cut, and if not, where's the moral
> economy in that?
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