lunes, septiembre 13, 2010

Air Force One Down

An interview with mysterious Computer Graphics artist The Faking Hoaxer

Conrad 'Connie' Brean: What's the thing people remember about the Gulf War? A bomb falling down a chimney. Let me tell you something: I was in the building where we filmed that with a 10-inch model made out of Legos.
Stanley Motss: Is that true?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Who the hell's to say?

Wag the Dog, 1997

Many of our ‘truths’ are based on what we have been shown on TV. A single image is powerful enough to convey not only emotions, but also long lasting opinions that have been traditionally used to support and topple governments. So, the temptation to forge images, so images forge reality, is natural.

From the old good times from the Stalinist Russia, where ‘enemies of the people’ were removed from photographs, to modern CGI techniques used in every TV station, images have been persistently tweaked, manipulated, edited, in order to highlight, overlook, deny or simply decorate reality.

Today, I want to invite you to read a conversation I recently held with a young artist, nicknamed The Faking Hoaxer (TFH), who has made a name for himself by doing the process the other way round, showing people how easy a news story can be forged.

From the Moon Hoax to the very unsettling 9/11 events, TFH has explored the thin line of reality and fiction by editing short video clips depicting totally inexistent but plausible facts, only armed with his endless ambition to show how much is he able to do with your streamline home computer equipment.

You can watch most of his uncanny, often disturbing, work in his own Youtube channel, and also learn many of his tricks in video editing.

But let us approach the guy behind TFH.

Who is TFH? Any political ideology behind your mysterious personality?
TFH is a guy that creates realistic videos of strange events with very limited recourses.

How did all start? Sounds like a sort of an urban legend a young Londoner reacting to a misuse of his work from an UFO fans site. Upset with this, he would have decided to post another clip showing it was all fake, and all his work behind. Is this so?
Yes sort of, I created my first UFO hoax and uploaded to the internet stating it was real footage. Nearly everyone thought it was real, so to point out to them not to believe everything they see I created another video showing how it was done, but people thought that video was the fake.

Brian Saint-Paul described in his blog some of your works as ‘…frighteningly realistic visions…’ and ‘…particularly affecting’. Why would you do that with your CG works? Is it just a matter about pushing the limits on CG? Or you think mock documentaries really have a role to play in our society? A kind of awareness of what kind of manipulation can we be subject from media tycoons?
I suppose my work shows you cannot trust anything you see on TV or the internet and that you don't need multimillions to create realistic videos. I'm not pushing the limits but more going back to basics but this style of CGI can be very dangerous in the wrong hands..... like Government agencies etc...

You seem to excel not only in CG but also photography, and some of your clips show talent for scripting. Also, music in all your clips is usually a very carefully made choice in order to reinforce, strengthen your visions. What is your background? Do you consider yourself as a pure CG artist or a full fledged movie maker to be?
I have always been an artistic person and I am learning all I can about the film making process so that one day I can move into real filmmaking as a Director. Modern home technology is so good that independent filmmakers will be producing better work with less people and less money.

From Orson Well’s 1938 ‘The War of the Worlds’ broadcast to 2009’s District-9 (one of TFH's favourite movies...), the subject of aliens attacking the Earth has been inspiration for many works, and also plays a central role in your own CG clips. Why is that? Is this idea something particularly affecting for you? Or it s just something well fitted to current state-of-the art CG capabilities?
I am a huge Sci-fi and Space fan and CGI lends itself to creating all the visions I have, and Aliens attacking the earth is the best one.

Your Youtube channel is followed by many fans worldwide. Why you keep your identity hidden? Security concerns? Genuine modesty?
I'm not a celebrity seeking person so its just simple modesty. Being recognised walking down the street would be very odd.
That I can confirm. He persistently refused to allow any portrait of him to be displayed for this interview. :( He's probably aware that mystery adds an special flavour to his work. :)

I guess that by now you have been approached by a number of media producers, whishing to hire your talent to build disturbing realities out of very limited resources. Some of your clips seem indeed craving for some attention from Hollywood producers. Would you like to become part of a multimillion project? The next Roland Emmerich’s inspiration?
Several Hollywood filmmakers and producers have contacted me by email and phone so you never know what the future may hold or indeed what's happing at the moment.

What is the work you’re most proud of? Your most appreciated trick?
My most popular work is that of the Space Shuttles but I like the UFO ones the best.

What are your plans for the future?
My goal is to become an independent film director.

And finally,

Did we really get to the moon back in 1969…?

Absolutely maybe... but possibly not.