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Parsons School of Design MFA Design and Technology program theses2002 (PC020402.02) ➔ Based on a True Story or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Television


Related people/organizations

Jonathan C. Lukens (designer)
Colleen Macklin (thesis advisor)
Sven Travis (thesis advisor)
Mark Stafford (thesis advisor)
Manuel Gonzalez (thesis advisor)




Based On a True Story is an infinitely long movie that is constantly being assembled at random from 95 small QuickTime movies averaging about two seconds in length. It is intended to be both a study toward developing an automatic process for creating movies from pre-existing components, and a commentary on the relationship between science, the military, and the media.

The 95 movies that comprise the larger piece were created by assigning short video clips from military training films and educational films from the 1950s to sound bytes taken from a promotional record for nuclear power released by Con Edison in New York in the 1970s. The movies play back in a random sequence on a monitor connected to a computer using VidVox’s Prophet QuickTime sampler software. Prophet receives MIDI input from Cycling74’s Max, which I use to randomize playback.

While the final product of my thesis investigations was only developed in the last few months, both it and all previous incarnations of my thesis research have shared the same themes: collage and juxtaposition of pre existing images and sounds, the inherent narrative strategies in news broadcasts, the relationship between science and the military, and the use of the future as a tool for examining the present.



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