Since starting at Online@VCU, I have been working on getting the equipment we need to create content for online courses. It is wonderful that we are able to take an office and transform it into a little production studio. The soundproofing is underway and a variety of backdrops will be added. Almost ready for lights, camera, action.
So, now it is time to name it. “American Zoetrope” is the great name Francis Ford Coppola named his studio, located in San Francisco, my old stomping grounds. Every time I drove past it, the name sparked great imagery.
For our little studio, I propose: JAZZMOSPHERE.
Why name our studio after Michel Gondry’s short animated film, “Jazzmosphere”? Michel Gondry is a great director but what really gets me going is the work he did promoting participatory culture. If you have not read “You’ll Like This Film Because You’re In It,” do read it. In it, Gondry documents his project of getting a community to make their own films in a really great project in which the basic structure of a few sets and production equipment were set up but then the rest came out of the creativity and collaboration of the community. The project was called “Be Kind Rewind,” as is Gondry’s film which cleverly takes on our current copyright law restrictions in the narrative.
I see connexions between jazz and the art coming out of mashup culture, as transformative from original content. As Ken Burns said, “JAZZ explores the uniquely American paradox that our greatest art form was created by those who have had the peculiar experience of being unfree in our supposedly free land” (from PBS interview). Higher education should and can be where students learn how not to allow that paradox to continue from learning about our history and seeing our present for what it really is. And let’s do all we can to give them the tools they need to change it for their future.
Jazzmosphere is what I would like to name it, but I encourage my colleagues from Online@VCU and CTE (Center for Teaching Excellence) to chime in with their production studio name ideas in the comments section. This space is for all of us to make great things for learning. But please do take into consideration how the conversation will sound:
“Have you seen Molly?”
“No, I haven’t. Did you try knocking on the Jazzmosphere?”