Two Critical Documentaries-- Comparing the films "Sonic Outlaws" and "Manufacturing Consent"

Essay by mistahwoofUniversity, Master's April 2002

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 120 times

"Who can is responsible for these problems? and how can I express my nearly adolescent tendency toward instigation in addressing these problems?"

"Well, Negativeland, these problems are the result of corporate imperialist practices, and you can express those tendencies and address these problems with your art."

Negativeland is the primary subject of Craig Baldwin's documentary video, "Sonic Outlaws". Along with Negativeland "Sonic Outlaws" looks at media practitioners such as E.B.N. (Emergency Broadcast Network), The Barbie Liberation Organization (B.L.O.), whose art begins with the raw materials of appropriated mass media. Generally, the purpose of these forms is to subvert the intentions of advertising, and other media by drawing attention to the various social problems they overlook or create. Baldwin's documentary represents these groups as heroic culture-jammers. Culture-jamming, generally, is a practice used by artists and activists, which consists of high-jacking the forms and imagery of mass media, images familiar to vast audiences, and using them to counter-act social, economic and political injustices the mass media maintains.

Many of these artists and activists see mega-corporations that control the planets resources (human, natural and otherwise) as the primary malevolent force of our rime. Baldwin's take on the fight is at the puerile, adolescent end of the attack on the corporation, at the other end of the offensive is "Manufacturing Consent", a documentary by the Canadian film makers, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick. "Manufacturing Consent" is a juggernaut of propaganda exposing and attacking corporate control of media and our freedoms.

Negativeland's energetic, irreverent attacks appeal to the puerile sensibility. Some of the scenes in Baldwin's video depict Negativeland as simply steeling other artist's material or other people's voices with no regard for the law or the moral implications of what they are doing. There is one scene that shows the senior member of...