Little Bits of Things Add Up: A DDoS Love Story


Yesterday as I was paying for a sweater a vintage shop, when the overhead music being played on Spotify went out. Another store employee began playing around with the computer, as the employee helping to ring me up stared confused at the mobile payment system. It too was not working. Deciding to pay with cash, I left the store and confused employees with my new sweater, attempting to tweet about the odd coincidence. Until I discovered that Twitter too was malfunctioning. Nothing was coming in or out. Arriving home and facing similar issues with my laptop, I turn to the New York Times to discover there has been a massive hack launched in the form of DDoS attack on servers controlling these various platforms that I seemingly, never really thinking about, rely on so much. Suddenly, with all these little things, from music to money to mentions unavailable, it added up to something big and anxious. I was spooked.

There’s a little bit of something in all of the affective visual media we have watched so far. Through Gasland, Fragments on Machines, and Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea, I began to pull out different striking sensory elements that were unique to each narrative and add up to something greater. Something more important.

Josh Fox’s soft, almost harrowing narrative for Gasland and Gasland II struck me greatly. It was a strong stylistic choice provide such a quiet narration, acting almost as a whisper in the ear of the viewer as they watched the scenes of fracking spill out across the screen. Fox’s narration connects to a film I have a deep affective connection with, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, which takes on a similar narration style. The words take the backseat to the visuals of the film, which similarly take form in a home-video style portrayal like Gasland. But the words still linger in the back of your head, even when you are not focusing on them entirely. This is the narration I am looking to incorporate alongside the audio, but especially with the video. My audio does not focus so much on interviewing, but rather will be a narration of the Walt Whitman poem, “Song of Myself” that is engraved along the grounds of the memorial.

Emma Charles’ Fragments on Machines masterfully blends together the natural and unnatural, seen and unseen, loud and soft, through her audio manipulations. While I focus on a space that is not based in the sounds of machines, I do take a particular focus at how I can incorporate the blending of sounds into one another. From construction to sirens to people and weather, each element plays off eachother to create a linear narrative, just as Charles’ audio achieves as it moves from subway cars to servers.

Like Fragments on Machines’ camera movements, Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea takes a slow, robotic approach to panning across landscapes rather than rooms. This is combined with the speedup of time, producing an uncomfortable movement along the toxic Salton Sea. It helps to create an unnatural, unsteadiness to the environment and ecology of the sea. But it also centered the sea as the main focus of the shot. With the land and sky moving abnormally fast, the sea becomes the focus. It becomes the concern. Incorporating this slow, robotic movements, with the manipulated speed of the surrounding elements will help to bring the focus on the memorial as something still in progress, but permanent in place.

XOXO Nolan

Works Cited:
Gasland. Dir. Josh Fox. Perf. Josh Fox. HBO, 2010. Film.

Tree of Life. Dir. Terrence Malick. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2011. Film.

Fragments on Machines. Dir. Emma Charles. N.p., 2013. Web.

Truly California: Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea. N.d. Perf. John Waters. KQED, 2014. Web.


~ by nrf238 on October 22, 2016.

3 Responses to “Little Bits of Things Add Up: A DDoS Love Story”

  1. “Most engaging” – I’m pretty sure I also had a moment with the Internet. I was at Bobst trying to write my blog post and things just started to go haywire; so I really enjoyed seeing you tie that in to your blog post to make it a bit more fun and relevant to our daily lives and how we use media/Internet. I also thought that you had really strong analysis of the projects.

  2. I would reward this post with the title “most down to earth”, in that you effectively connected the work to the real world. It is important to draw relations to reality in order to develop a deeper understanding of the text. I think the anxiety and awkwardness we experience when our technology does not work has a lot to do with our visual reliance. The analysis here was very clear. – Diane

  3. Hi Nolan! You get my vote for most creative/current application of concepts. When I read your post, I was immediately hitting myself on the head! I definitely wish I thought to connect the massive hack to the texts. You blended the current event seamlessly with our texts, and I thought you had a good grasp of all the techniques used. Good job!

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