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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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con report: vividcon 2008
due south fraser/kowalski
seperis
VVC was, per usual, fantastic and incredibly fun, and per usual, left me shellshocked and vaguely punchy after, which is why Sunday nights are so necessary, because after a weekend of visual stimulation and heavy discussion, Sunday night badfic reinactments are kinda the only way to deal (and participating in badfic LARP gives you a strange appreciation for anatomy you never had before--please don't ask. Rum helped).

Panels



Color, moderated by Luminosity

This caused me to suddenly break out during movies "Oh, yellow filter! That means obsession!" and "See all that red? That's life and love and such." and being forbidden to speak at random intervals. The point she made was that color is a hardwire in us to expect certain things, which is something I'd heard before but never really considered until she showed examples and I started watching for it. I'm wondering what it says about me now that my preferred colors for wear are grey, black, white, and the muted earthshades. So I made an effort and wore the purple of transformation to dinner on Sunday night.

Again, knowing and seeing make a difference. Red, I knew, was always supposed to be a spot to call attention, which makes me wonder if running a movie with a dominant color red would change the expectation of what we would be looking for. For that matter, what the movie was trying to say. Personally, learning something probably everyone else already knew is pretty damn fascinating.






What Do We Want from Vids Now, moderated by Cesperanza and Counteragent

There was also a discussion on the evolution of vids from where they were and where they're going, along with vidders--a lot was hit, including outside source, multiple source, creating source, reworking the same pivotal scenes, etc. I think the point that fascinated me most was the transition that will inevitably come with vidders moving into the long form, or the fan movie. As a viewer, it's exciting to consider. I had a few minutes with harriet_spy to discuss our enthusiasm, which I dearly wish I'd followed up on (God, VVC is like the WHEE SHINY OVER THERE so damn *much*, I only got two of the things I meant to do here done), and she discusses it here.

I do like the idea of vidders embracing long form as well as short form, and seeing what comes out of it. I'm a huge proponent of fannish creativity; it reminds me of something a long ago program manager said about a job, how you could grow inside the job or grow out of the job, but that growth was necessary either way. Vidding exemplifies both the celebration of limits, the expansion of them, and the breaking of them. It reminds me a lot of why I love to build with leggos and other building sets so much, and when I'd only want to live to work inside the limits of leggos and when I'd drag out those other things I can't remmeber the name of and build a carousel. It's just *fun*.






I Suck, moderated by fan_eunice and sisabet

Well, this is about--wait for it--the "I Suck" litany that goes through everyone's heads. I won't say because they gave us gifts of chocolate that we love them best, but you know, I will say if all moderators want to bribe for good reviews, this really works as incentive. A lot of the steps and discussion that went on pretty much follow the pattern most writers have as well, with vid specific twists, as vidders do not take advantage fo WIP day and really, they should. Yes, I mean, sisabet and John is Jesus.

A lot of the advice crosses over nicely (know when you are feeling constructive and when you need chocolate and hugs, walk away if you think you are going to delete, go eat and pee, which is practical advice that I remmeber thete1 might have given me during the writing of A Handful of Dust though I think hers was "GO SLEEP NOW JESUS CHRIST YOU HAVE BEEN DOING THIS SINCE DUSK AND I SEE THE SUN HAS RISEN" and you know, I think everyone could benefit from this advice. Eat, sleep, pee. Right there). If they post the list, I'll link up, since I think it applies to the fanartists and writers as well.






In-Depth Vid Review, moderated by Sisabet and Luminosity

The vids discussed were the ones I mentioned above, which again, when people start meta'ing, I'll link up, because they both had some interesting points I'm still pondering.




Vids

Personal thoughts, which are probably of interest only to me:



Climbing Up the Walls by obsessive24

I will speak personally on this, my reaction is highly informed by the fact that Smallville didn't break me to incest, it just reminded me that in eighth grade, I read every VC Andrews book I could get my hands on and cheered Christopher and Catherine-oh-my-God-she-was-a-Mary-Sue along. And before that, I spent a great deal of free time writing up highly detailed genealogies of royalty and nobility starting with pre-Ptolematic Egypt. So fictional or historical incest, unlike contemporary/current, doesn't really have the same effect on me.

So the incest wasn't shocking. What got me was the handling, not to mention the utter beauty. There's a lot about it technically (and I say this with very low knowledge of the technical aspects) that appealed to me that usually doesn't in vids, and it's one of the few times that I fell into the theme almost immediately, since the music was about as perfect as you can get without being able to custom order it.

I came out of Climbing Up the Walls with the idea of not just the incest and older sibling in some ways as predator, but a thought about how the younger (and invaribley "special" sibling) as both a victim and willing collaborator in their victimness. For some reason, I get the feeling this wouldn't be the most popular reading, and frankly, I could be wrong, and I need more viewings to work out where I picked that up, but there's a high possibility that the very thing that makes them need protection also leads them to make absolutely sure they have someone that will be both protector, outside focus, and someone that, despite what they are/do/will be, will never ever leave them. In other words, the obsession not only goes both ways, but that it's constructed specifically by both parties to create a tight space of unconditional acceptance. I will do anything for you can also be read as I need you to do anything for me.

I will link when this vid goes up. I'd like to see other reactions.

ETA: More on this in comments.






Gloria by sweetestdrain

The other, Gloria, The Sarah Conner Chronicles, Sarah/Cameron, was fascinating to me as an exploration of the purely physical, or rather, Cameron as the gun that doubles as the sex toy. I'm really uncertain on my reading here, but the focus on Cameron's physicality--first her badassness, the weapon she is, and then with her dancing, her body, her beauty--came off as less an emotional reaction to her, or interest in her mind, her person, as it was--I'm not sure of the wording on this one. I want to say it wasn't about seeing her as her--it was about seeing her in terms of her usefulness. Fucking her and sending her to kill don't seem that far apart in terms of what to *do* with her, but are a far cry from what to be to her, or discovering who she is.




There are about ten other vids I fell for hard, but these are the ones I discussed actively so remember best. If I get a chance and when the vids go up, will put up links. Cause seriously, these were awesome. All of them.

Vid links

Placeholder for vids as they go online.

Highway Café of the Damned by jmtorres and niqaeli, Stargate (movie and SG1) - oh fantastic. This made me *ridiculously* happy. And just--okay, Daniel just made me laugh and sigh and smile a *lot*. And the song is just so amazingly appropriate, you have no idea.


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Red, I knew, was always supposed to be a spot to call attention, which makes me wonder if running a movie with a dominant color red would change the expectation of what we would be looking for. For that matter, what the movie was trying to say. Personally, learning something probably everyone else already knew is pretty damn fascinating.

Huh. I have, like, no actual *input* here but this is interesting. It makes me wonder about the colors used in SV, since that's one of the very few shows that constantly used colour coding for characters in a way that I *noticed* (other shows may do it but not obviously enough for me to see it).

I didn't either until she showed us clips of three movies adn showed the color shift. It was utterly riveting to see it.

If you've seen my post you know I vehemently disagree with your Climbing reading :) Or rather, I can totally see it but then I don't. And in a way, I think your reading moves away from victim to collaborator, right? Can you be party to your own victimization? Clearly! But is that what's really happening in the vid? Or can we ever know! (I think maybe at that point it really matters how one reads the source text, and maybe the vid remains as ambiguous as the text?)

oooh yeah. *g* My reading also comes from a metatextual pov as well, not merely the vid as constructed by the vidder. I kind of want to read the incest as a metaphor, actually, instead of either AU or constructed reality, with less to do with actual incest and more to do with the locked and frozen positions of the people participating in it--ie Dean, Nathan, and Simon forever locked into protector/provider and their siblings locked into special object and protectee. For me, the stills contribute to the idea they're still locked in those childhood relationships of older/younger without re-establishing identity outside those carefully predefined boundaries that would at least partially dissolve or be rewritten somewhat at adulthood.

I do think victim as collaborator is a very possible interpretation of the source as well as the vid itself, but that returns to the canon sharply on how much the three objects interact with the protectors. Whether by conscious design or habit or hell, the universe, their existence and their needs trump the identity of the protector to the point of them, especially in Dean's case, mostly in Simon's, and partially in Nathan's, having no identity outside that known bond.

I could make an argument on parental collaboration in this; while not necessarily being people that would encourage their kids having sex, the exclusionary power of that bond to not only the detriment but the absolute exclusion of other (non-familial) bonds doesn't lend itself to any kind of possibility of a healthy relationship period, much less an extra-familial one.

A point that comes out is that the younger are all very special with Very Special Destinies or Very Special Gifts.

This one fascinates me, because while the protector portion is explored fairly often, I can't help but consider the idea that the three that not only allow but encourage that focus aren't exactly fighting to either loosen those bonds or escape them. Again, especially with Sam, who is both old enough and had a life outside of Dean and family. That he came back to it and made himself comfortable in Dean's utter focus does say something. What that is, I'm not entirely sure yet.

I could do this one for hours. It's fascinating.

Just to say, this is a totally awesome report! And I think your readings are great whether or not they are Right™. *g*

oh, you damn postmodernist...of course there is only one reading and that's right and that's MINE!!!! *vbg*

Flippancy I am thy bitch

"It's mauve and dangerous..."

*apologises*

So much to read - so little time

Re: Flippancy I am thy bitch

*grins* It's transformative and dangerous.

Oooh, shiny con report; thank you!

And dammit, at least a dozen times this weekend I went, "oh, hey, there's seperis, I should go introduce myself in person," and then the hey, shiny, look over here impulse kicked in and I missed my window(s). So. Yeah. I'm a dork. *g*

GOD I KNOW. I even walked by you at the door, thought, oh, kassrachel, let me grab Madelyn and then come back and....yeah. That worked. I blame karaoke.

hmmm, hopping over from musesfool's journal...

The point she made was that color is a hardwire in us to expect certain things

You know, I've always wondered if certain fan reactions to things in shows that aren't necessarily what the showmakers intended are helped by unconscious coding like this. I actually think this ties in a bit to the incest discussion, because there are some incest ships I feel are coded more "romantically" than regular ones on the shows, and often I think it may be unintentional on the part of the showmakers -- like maybe they're just striving for pretty colors, not striving to throw Peter and Claire from Heroes in scene after scene in which everything screams ROMANTIC INTEREST! yet putting Peter and whatsherface (that girl from season 2) in all these cold, dead looking scenes, which pretty much ensured that I felt nothing for them together.

there's a high possibility that the very thing that makes them need protection also leads them to make absolutely sure they have someone that will be both protector, outside focus, and someone that, despite what they are/do/will be, will never ever leave them. In other words, the obsession not only goes both ways, but that it's constructed specifically by both parties to create a tight space of unconditional acceptance.

This is an interesting read that jives with how I see the various relationships you mentioned. Not, actually, Nathan and Peter, because I've never gotten incesty or even claustrophobic-relationship vibes from them, but with the others. I'm very interested in seeing this vid and can't wait until it's posted. I think it's also pretty interesting that I came across this discussion TODAY because I had just posted about incest in SPN and was wanting to see some meta on it... and LO, THE INTERNET DELIVERED.

(Also, uh, dumb question, but since I haven't followed Smallville since the first season... there's incest in Smallville/SV fandom? Who and who? I can't think even of any families other than the Kents and Luthors.)

The color thing is really sticking; I catch myself watching shows to see if I can read the coding by the lighting. It's pretty interesting.

Smallville--well, there's some Lionel/Lex, which isn't rare but isn't really what anyone sane calls a ship either. There's a small amount of Lex/Lucas (Lucas is his half-brother), but same thing. Tiny bits of Clark/Lex/Lucas (like, I remember one, though probably there was more). I have reluctantly witnessed Jonathan/Clark, but of them, the biggest really is the Lionel/Lex and it almost exclusively plays to trauma. There used to be a Luthorcest archive, but that went away, but SSA I think lists Lionel/Lex as a pairing in there.

Hey, just jumping on over here, and couldn't resist adding my two cents to this really fascinating conversation.. (Something which lends itself to the question of just why do we find the whole concept of incest to be so interesting? Is it because it becomes a microcosm, an allegory of all general human emotional fuckery boiled down into a single relationship that is so much closer/open than any generally normal ones?)

Anyway...


Sex in these terms is the least of the problem--they could do it in every bed in the country--it becomes why do we need any lines between us? Aka--you live for me, you die for me, you protect me and feed me and make yourself into a world for me, and when I ask a question, you make yourself my answer. So at that point, sex is almost superfluous--the question isn't should we but why not?


The thing about all three relationships (and I haven't actually seen the vid, I'm just extrapolating here) is that, as I think has been mentioned, they come from very abnormal, insular origins.


Simon and River are both canonically exceptionally brilliant, and that in itself can be an incredibly isolating factor in any society, be it Earth, super-hero Earth or Future-Whedon-Verse.


They also, as do the Petrellis, come from a very exclusive, higher class background, which becomes yet another stratifying element. Coming from the upper classes also has connotations of the historical tropes of blue-blood, aristocratic incest, which brings with it the almost subconscious assumption that being so exclusive justifies and rationalizes the 'social aberration' of incest within the minds of the enactors.


With Sam and Dean, the circle comes back around to overlapping in the sense of intelligence. While Dean is not (I don't think) empirically proved to be just as scarily smart as Sam is with his free ride to Stanford, from what I see, it's a good assumption that he has shown the same capacity for that kind of quick-silver, instinctual intelligence. Add that to their background, which, while not high class, does engender a sense of the superior, both physically and morally because, hell, they grew up knowing about things that nobody else did, saving people's lives, and are, on top of that, also physically superior in many ways.


The lack of balancing webs of support networks, which temper less socially acceptable behaviour, and obsessive, over-dependant relationships, through sheer force of exposing the person to emotional condemnation and judgement, if nothing else, is also key in those kind of developmental, founding years.


And ... Gah. I'm writing circles around myself now, but my basic point is that in all three relationships, the Winchester and Petrelli brothers, the Tam siblings, they come from backgrounds wherein they are special, somehow superior to the 'masses', and that innate sense of superiority, be it intellectual, social, moral, physical, political, etc. coupled with the isolation and resentment of the other that those kind of situations engender, all lend themselves to an easier rationalization and acceptance of defying societal norms, of rebelling against the 'arbitrary' familial boundaries, because hell, they're smarter, richer, tougher and better looking than you.



er ... /pseudo-intellectual ramble.

I hadn't considered the specialness aspect being a reason before. Now *that* is interesting to consider--that the specialness puts them above the common morality/etc.

*fascinated* I love the way you think.

*waves a glowstick at you*

The sad part is, that counts as a distinct jump in my sex life. I don't even know how to deal with that. *sad*

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