Saturday, May 26, 2007

Release The Stars

Zurich airport
Originally uploaded by amsterboy
Today has been a good day. After having a second brilliant session with the design students in Zürich, I made my way to the airport with the new Rufus Wainwright CD in my iPod. Sunny streets and his flirtatiously clever voice in my head was just the ultimate start for the weekend. And just to make my sister jealous I need to mention the perfectly salty crispy bretzel at the railway station.

By the way the Zürich airport is quite an experience. I would dare to name it as the most impressive airport I have seen. The share amount of empty space, the size of the airport compared to the size of the city (only like 300.000 inhabitants) and the fact that the airport is completely spotless all support an image of a city quite comfortable with its prosperity.

In our second session today with the students we focused on self-representation, migration and contextualisation. We compared for instance presenting a video on one's own MySpace site and on YouTube which is much less contextualised. The longest discussion was on "the story" behind a video of a teenager girl shaking her ass in her bedroom to 50 Cent's openly sexist song Candy Shop. The group slightly divided between those who did not see a reason to worry and those seeing signs of a lack of parental control.

After watching a lot of oneminutes, hip hop videos and parkour videos we dived into the question whether there are differences in the visual languages based on the teenagers ethnicity or nationality. My own gut feeling is that the differences are much more on subjects and in the tone of communication but the visual structure follows relatively unified paths.

I also got a question on why we do not indicate on theoneminutesjr website whether the maker is for instance an asylum seeker or an orphan or belonging to a cultural minority in a country. My answer was that we give the context of youth but after that it is up to the young maker to decide which particles of their identity their wish to highlight in their video. I have lobbied and will keep on lobbying for strategies where young people - whether or not with an immigrant background - are allowed to choose the communities they wish to attach to.

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