Man With a Movie Camera: The Global Remake (2007 – on-going)
You can find the artist’s introduction to the work on the following slide
“Man With a Movie Camera: The Global Remake” (2007 – on-going), one of the most well-known pieces of Perry Bard, is a visual doppelganger of a movie “Man With a Movie Camera” (1929) by Dziga Vertov. To create this participatory work, the artist separated this chef-d’oeuvre of Russian Avant-garde into scenes and frames and uploaded them on her website, inviting everybody to re-shoot those scenes. The resulting footage can be uploaded onto the website, where a special software archives, sequences and streams the submissions as a film: on the left we see original footing of Dziga Vertov and on the right – the uploaded videos. With each playback, the software rebuilds the film, making each and every one the associate to creating of the piece.
On this moment the website is archived, and we are showing the latest version of the piece of January 16, 2017.
In retrospect, I realize that the idea for “MWAMC: The Global Remake” was inspired by the artists and curators I met when I participated in OSTranennie, a forum for Electronic Art with my video “My Little Box of Nazis”.
The event was at the Bauhaus in Dessau, the theme was East/West. I met many interesting artists and curators with whom I am still in touch. In 1999 Iliyana Nedkova invited me to participate in Video Archaeology in Sofia.
I proposed to remake 6 minutes of Vertov’s “Man With a Movie Camera” which I did in collaboration with Bulgarian artist Boyan Dobrev. We imitated each shot in those six minutes and presented our remake on two screens in the window of a JVC video store on Vitosha Boulevard, the main commercial street in Sofia. When I got home and looked at the footage, I thought Vertov’s original was far more performative than ours. This gave me the idea to remake the whole film through an online network.
In the following years, I travelled to Belgrade, Bucharest, Croatia, Manchester, all of which was educational in terms of connectivity. I live in New York, where there was decent and affordable internet. Not so with my friends in the former East. I became aware of the disparities and decided this could be the subject of a video and Man With A Movie Camera was the perfect conduit. The shots were short, so they could be uploaded, and the subject matter was approachable by anyone in Vertov’s words “a portrait of life as it is”.
I received a Bigger Picture Commission in the UK, which allowed me to hire a programmer and 12 “foreign correspondents” in different parts of the world.
Their role was to organize uploads locally. My goal was to make an inclusive film representing a global network. I still have no uploads from Africa, India and many other countries. Eventually, the software became obsolete, and the project has been archived by Rhizome at the New Museum in New York. The website can be viewed here: (it takes some time to load). https://webenact.rhizome.org/man-with-a-movie-camera-the-global-remake/20160217142125/http://dziga.perrybard.net/
It was an exhausting and exciting ten-year run. I’m grateful to everyone who supported the project, and my experience in Moscow was most memorable.
Thank you Olga Shishko!