Bonfyres of vanities: the pitfalls of a cultural Fyre-Sale

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The great thing about the Fyre festival documentary (Netflix version) is that it works on so many levels. I think it’s a must-watch for anyone in the creative industry, media and the entrepreneur/VC space. Spheres of influence where realities are constructed and promoted, often with little regard to consequence. Let it be our cautionary tale.

Liar, liar pants on Fyre!

On a surface level, there’s the story of the epic disaster itself — a fractal-shaped clusterfuck of clusterfucks.

Early on, as a viewer, even if you had no awareness of the news story at the time, you think you know what’s coming because you know the premise. Well, guess again because it gets more and more extreme and peculiar –twist upon twist. It’s one of the things that make it such a weirdly enjoyable film to watch. I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but two moments that left me picking up my jaw off the floor were around the toxic ethos of ‘taking one for the team’ and the inevitable ‘force majeure’. More on those later. Continue reading

Some thoughts on the significance of lip-syncing (miming) to music

The most successful Israeli viral video of all times (so far, and probably by far), is Tasha’s lip-sync of “Hey” by The Pixies . This video received about 30,170,950 million views, and counting. There probably isn’t an Israeli TV show watched by so many in history, a film or a book seem an unfair comparison.

Lip-syncing was one of the genres which indicated the rise of YouTube and rising dominance of user-created video content. But why did so many people find it engaging as viewers or performers?

On a semiotic level, I find lip-synching fascinating, as it emerges as such prominent “sign of the times”. So this is my go at some “history of the present”…

Lip-syncing seems to me like the child of karaoke, it is the next step in a series of social activities centred around music. Additionally, both of them are socially acceptable ego-trips. Before both, we had sing-songs, with people coming together to sing in a group (The T-mobile singing flash-mob campaign looks more like a mass karaoke than a traditional sing-song).

With karaoke, the original performance remains the central subject of the performance. The performer becomes bigger as she connects with the original cultural artefact. Simply: I sing Bowie’s “let’s dance”, friends and strangers cheer, and for a moment – I touch glory.
The original self melts away, I’m now a vehicle for the song, and my gestures signify the original’s concept of stardom. I’m a prophet and my god is the original pop-culture artefact.
Many karaoke moments are compromised of people getting together to celebrate their mutual cultural history, performing the anthems of their youth, whilst celebrating their chance at feeling the kind of attention saved for pop-icons.

Continue reading