“Around me a storm is brewing
I can sense it in the air
The clouds are dark and menacing
I can’t help but stop and stare…”
Our largely capitalist society propels production and industrialisation at an disturbing rate. Rampant consumption is evident in most of the so called ‘developed’ nations. Desire for mass produced goods is manufactured carefully and systematically.
The inequalities that result from following a capitalistic system are blatant and obvious. The system encourages “free market, competition and the profit motive”, creating illusions in the minds of the poor that they have an equal chance to get a piece of their pie , so long as they work hard all their lives.
The people who work in the assembly line never really have the opportunities and comforts that the rich can afford. Why then do these people never revolt, or never question the system? It is a hypnotic belief that they have been ingrained with, to live life the best way they can and God will provide, the system will provide. The richer get richer all the time, widening the economic gaps between the classes of people. More than 90 percent of the world’s power and money lies with only the top 1 percent of the people.
The rich use all sorts of means to cloud the judgement of the masses. They use mass media, the idea of freedom /patriotism and even religion to maintain their own status quo. This system and economy has moved from being purely capitalism to a concept called “plutonomy”( coined by Citicorp). According to the minimum wage regulation, wages are kept low for almost all of the population while the rest minute percentage is allowed to meet overwhelming profits.
The major industries of the world, the banks and the political powers all seek to control that 90 percent of the wealth. Sometimes fear of war and economic meltdowns is used with great finesse to pump money into the hands of the powerful. The only thing for the tycoons to fear is the power in the common man’s hand to vote.
The song that we chose was made to represent the inequality of a different kind, the one dependent on the colour of a person’s skin. Before the civil war broke out in America, African- Americans were subject to much humiliation, discrimination and prejudice. The way the English subjugated the Indians is a mirror of that , back home. Today, we condemn nations and people who are openly racially biased. How different is one form of injustice from another , though? Economic inequality is still the normal way of the world. The suppression of a certain segment of people has always been the means to gain power and wealth. The video has tried to link and show these inequalities, sometimes contrasting the way of life that the rich strive to protect, and the poor can only dream of.
Louis Armstrong was one of the first African-Americans to be accepted in music and popular culture. To his communities dismay, however , he rarely ever publicly politicized his race. Maybe he knew that such a step would spell doom for his career.
The song, “ What a wonderful world”, was first recorded by Armstrong and released as a single in 1968. Intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate of everyday life in the United States, the song also has a hopeful, optimistic tone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to. However it is interesting to note that the song never really gained popularity in the US, majorly because the head of ABC did not promote it. The song though, was in the top ten charts in the UK for a long time.
The use of the song in an ironic manner has been noticed in countless films and TV series in the past. Most viewers will be familiar with it in some context or the other. This remediation of the song is our version of a ‘reality’ about the planet that we want to represent. The videos have been sourced from the large library that the internet offers.
Technically, the pace and the lilting quality of the song is apt for slow fades and cuts, as well as slow motion within the video. We have tried to place the cuts of the videos according to the gaps in between the lyrics. The content of the video itself is chosen as a direct disparity to the poetry of the song. Hence the remediation works at two levels. One, at the level of the content being ironic in contrast to the content of the song; and two at the level of the rhythm and pace of the cuts, fades and the videos themselves. The overall feel of the video is very directly ironic and sarcastic in nature. Hypermediation has been tried in the form of multiple overlays of videos , transitions and dissolves.
Why we chose to name the video “withering..” is because we felt that the system of society that propels consumption of goods, leading to industrialisation, which is largely controlled by a chosen few in power, is bound to breed unhappiness and maybe even revolt.