Nowadays, film and television are undisputedly the two dominant media and exceed any single function that we try to reduce them to. Film is therefore not only entertainment, not only art, not only information – it is spread over innumerable functions of social life. Because of this omnipresence in social life and because of its influence, it is often the target of one or other kind of censorship. The times of state censorship may well be over, but questions about a perhaps too strong social influence of film and television keep coming up – Hollywood is undoubtedly the most prominent symbol of Americanization, and television is a medium through which the society keeps in touch with itself and the world. If you do not appear on television, you do not exist; the importance and remembrance of an event is measured in its broadcasting time – and not in how important the event actually is, etc. Whoever controls television, controls the society.
According to Baudrillard, everyday and historical events as well as events of world importance are only (farcical) replays of film scenes; innumerable crimes first happened on tape, and only later in reality; serial killers imitate their film idols; old American war films are an important inspiration for Liberian rebels. In everyday situations in which we find ourselves, we unawares try to replay memorable scenes from famous Hollywood films, we try to reproduce the witty dialogues or monologues of our heroes; our life philosophies and moods are governed by profound meditations of film protagonists. If we are altruistically confused, we are altruistically confused like Amelie; if we are angry, we are angry like Samuel L. Jackson, vengeful like Uma Thurman, upright like Bruce Willis, depressive like Marvin, cynical like The Black Adder and pure of heart like Esmeralda. Moreover, we always expect a happy ending – good people are rewarded and bad people punished, money can’t buy luck and love conquers all, right?
The Decoupage project approaches the process of identifying with film clichés, characters, and floccules from another perspective and tries to re-tie everyday dialogue to film production, the latter being one of the main subconscious sources of the former. In this way it lifts the veil from what Jung would call “collective unconsciousness” – into innumerable symbolic meanings, prejudice, subconscious trivia, into all that “what we all know anyway”. With a retroactive connection of film and dialogue, the project tries to shed light on the dominant influence of film and television production on the modern society and its rituals, sayings and myths.
Decoupage exploits the liberative potentials of modern technology in order to establish a tool for a different relationship of an everyman towards this monopolized and life-foreign medium. The development of photography was a key element in the descent of fine arts from elitist heights towards the sea of free individuals who could control the world with a single click. What photography did for our relationship to the world, what Dadaism did with texts and photography, a modern computer can do to the most complicated and most complex medium too. With a single click, we can now master the fictitious world of the film. If we want to beat the structure of this fictitious world that determines our everyday lives, it is best to abuse its elements at our will. If Truman Show displayed the possibility of a custom-made reality for the needs of television, if S1m0ne flirted with the idea of a computer made actress, then Decoupage goes a bit deeper into deconstruction. Let us dismantle these popular products down to their elements and put them together in a different mix, and we get a new whole, a whole without the polished artificial environment. Remix society is the only link between the modern society and its reality.
Text: Jernej Županič & Boštjan Špetič, translation: Martin Hribar