Stock Footage

with Shara Rosko
2001

Shara Rosko and I have developed a video catalogue of stock footage, ostensibly to be made available to “the industry” though realistically unusable. The nature of this footage is shots (images, scenes) which would actually be completely worthless as professional “stock footage,” due to its’ “interesting” nature or inherent narrative structure. In other words, each shot or piece of footage contains elements that will catch the eye, peak the watcher’s curiosity or otherwise reveal themselves to be more than simple street scenes, landscape shots, baby pictures, or what have you. They would be worthless in the industry because of their inability to blend in and seem perfectly natural or innocuous; they will suggest a narrative of their own completely unintended or in conflict with the storyline of whatever film, commercial or promotional piece the stock footage may be sought for. There are entire categories of types of footage, each being too specific or interesting to be suitable for industry.

Stan Douglas has made very short films, intended to be shown between commercials which suggest some of the same possibilities which we have developed in this project. Our project uses the same incredibly short format to do some very different things. Rather than try to suggest a story or conflicted meanings, our Stock Footage claims to be merely scenic, or image-based. As a collection, they are absurd; as individual shots they are puzzling – just as unfinished and anticlimactic as all stock footage.

The amount of stock footage in total is about an hour and fifteen minutes, and each shot varies in length from three to thirty seconds. Each category of stock footage is edited onto its own videotape, and for exhibition purposes, the entire videologue is displayed on a shelf beside a TV/VCR so that gallery visitors may peruse the series at their leisure. When included in festival programming or broadcast television, one shot at a time can be inserted between programs. For your convenience, a copy of the entire catalogue has been edited onto one tape.