Most of our work this semester has focused on how scholars discuss Detroit. Together, we studied a variety scholarly works, and our anthology is an attempt to make sense of that research. This project will take a slightly different approach by examining the public conversation about Detroit. For this assignment, our research space will be YouTube. Thousands of videos on YouTube address the topic of "Detroit." Further, comments posted to videos and "video responses" are evidence that people are not only making visual arguments (with videos) but are also discussing the content of those videos. In many ways, YouTube is a database reflecting the public conversations about millions of topics, and it will be our task to make sense of the YouTube conversation about Detroit.
In this final project, you will create a video mashup. Much like your anthology preface makes an argument about the state of a scholarly debate amongst scholars, your mashup will piece together YouTube clips in an attempt to make an argument about how YouTube videos discuss, critique, or examine Detroit.
As you conduct research for the mashup, you should consider the following:
Who posted your videos?
You will have to do your best to figure out who posted the video. This does not mean tracking down the name of the person who posted it. Instead, it means figuring out if that user has posted other videos and drawing conclusions from these findings. By researching a user's contributions to YouTube, you can get a sense for their motives and you can evaluate their ethos.
What is the context of each clip?
Some videos on YouTube are from news reports, TV shows, or movies. This changes the context of the clip, and it changes who the "author" is. So, your main task is to provide some context for who the "author" of this clip is. Was this footage shot by news cameras, or is it amateur footage? When was the footage shot, and when was it posted (this two dates can be very different)? Was it posted in response to another clip? Are there similar clips that this clip is in conversation with? Are there comments posted? Do these comments reflect the "conversation" surrounding this clip? What kinds of debates have arisen around this video? Is the clip in a category? Has it been tagged? (Note: Categories are groupings created by YouTube to sort videos. Tags are descriptive words determined by users.) How might this category/tag affect the context of the clip?
Who is the audience?
Can you you gauge who the video was intended for? How does it attempt to persuade that audience? What strategies are used to reach that audience? Does it succeed or fail?
What strategies are used in the clip? These could be visual strategies (camera angles, closeups), audio strategies (music, sound), or verbal strategies (arguments made by people in the video). Just as you've analyzed arguments from journals, you'll be analyzing the arguments made on YouTube. Revisit the tools we've learned in Having Your Say as you analyze these clips.
Your mashup can be no longer than two minutes.
Goals of the Assignment
While I will not be grading your mashup, I will be providing feedback. That feedback will be focused on whether or not you've addressed the following goals:
1) Your mashup should be transformative. It should find a way to make the source materials new and to make us think about it in a different way.
2) Your mashup should show evidence that you've researched the source clips and that you understand their context. The best video mashups incorporate footage for a reason; they do not just combine footage at random. Your mashup should show us that you understand the rhetorical purpose of the clips you've chosen.
3) Your work should make its case without the use of voice-over and without relying on text. Your mashup should make use of sound and image to show us connections amongst the various clips that you've found during your research.