It’s amazing how much we are bombarded during our waking moments on a minute by minute basis. Sometimes, cool stuff gets through and sticks, for however long it holds our attention. The Internet is made up of short bursts of fireworks and smoke signals – we see them go off if we’re near by.
And so it was with Ze Frank, a sort of digital creative experimentalist (ah, a new title in this new age) who notes that technology without humanity (art, culture, humor, etc.) can be exceptionally arid. (Watch Frank on TED talks).
I first learned about him from a viral bit of Flash that somehow got spread around the Internet through email, message boards and forums (hey, this was BF (before Facebook)). The bit was called “How to Dance Properly” and it has entertained me countless times.
Sometime after, Ze Frank began a year long experiment utilizing video to create “The Show,” in which Frank would comment, caffeinated style, on news events of the day and feature contributions from his fans.
Frank’s ability to combine content from his fans and create mash-ups with other forms of new media has influenced so many from vloggers to digital artists.
But best to just show than tell…
First “The Show” show – 3-17-06
Young me, now me – send a photo of yourself as a kid and then re-do the photo as your adult self. The results that have been sent in are hilarious. At the top of the page you’ll see a number of digital “toys” that Frank has created. Play with some of those. You’ll have fun.
Last April, 2012, Frank started up his “show” again with a new version called “A Show.” In his first episode, “An Invocation for Beginners” he starts off saying, “Don’t call it a come [pronounced ‘comb’] back, I’ll have hair for years.” A few seconds later he tells his audience, “this is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun, who’s stuck in a terrible place between 0 and 1…” and then turns a dial up to 11 and has his fingers jumping a shark [click the link to learn what that means]. One thing he’s added are “missions” in which fans get to create something. Some missions ask fans to record audio tracks, 25 seconds or less, explaining a dream they had. Artist Lee Hall animates the dream and Frank presents it on one of his shows. Other missions include helping one of Frank’s interns create a video by having fans write stuff, such as what it feels like to meet someone for the first time. Another mission asks fans to upload a picture of someone in the middle of a blood-curdling scream.
Enjoy the shows, the fun and the brilliant, frenetic energy that is Ze Frank. Let me know what you think in the comments below.