I learned about scratch video with friends, while studying communications at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. We formed the collective Covert Ops, made up of DJs, a visuals crew, designers, writers, and bedroom producers.
I pitched using visuals and scratch video as a topic for my master's thesis project to professors. They bought it. I worked on the project over eighteen months, and published articles in magazines like VICE based on the interviews and research. I wrote over 150 pages, cut 120 of them, and ended up with a file structure to keep track of information. I made three videos to demonstrate what I was talking about.
I called it "Scratch Video - 'a mutant hybrid of scratch DJ music and guerilla TV'". This was my opening:
"The aim of my Master's Thesis Project is to achieve a better understanding of how scratch video works. I wanted to find out where it came from, how it's designed, and come up with some ideas on why it came into being. I also wanted to design three videos that demonstrate different aspects of the medium: one produced in a studio out of sampled sounds and imagery, one documenting a realtime (live) performance, and one constructed of DIY (do it yourself) images and sounds.
"Research took me to parties, festivals, clubs, book and magazine shops, back rooms, record company offices, lofts, and an international conference on the electronic arts. I interviewed VJs, scratch editors, music producers, turntablists, and film makers. This topic couldn't be explored in the library -- it had to be experienced, and this text along with the three videos represent what I have learned so far. I can't give enough thanks for the interest, support and assistance so many people have given this project."
The night after my defense, I screened the videos at a record store I used to live above. Covert Ops did visuals and music, and Michael Wortsman unveiled the first interactive version of the project on CD-ROM. He designed a turntable to play the videos, a video sampler to remix them, interactive text, and a secret scratch function. My example of a sample video, "back and to the left", made it into the Paris Film and Video Festival. It can now be seen online at 8bit Studio.
The text became this web site, with about 1000 hyperlinks. If you like something, you can find out more about it. Remember -- this was my homework you are reading.
If you haven't figured it out, click on the flyer to get in.
Text and Site Design: Hart Snider
Graphic Design: Mike Wortsman
Editing: Chris Hatherill and Erin Whittaker
Thesis Supervisor: Monika Kim Gangon, Ph.D.
Thesis Committee: Dennis Murphy, Ph.D., Kim Sawchuk, Ph.D., and Andra McCartney, Ph.D.