These last years, supermarkets and brands stun pseudo-revolutionary slogans (“all against high prices”, “low prices”) and abuse of flashy graphic identities (colors, fonts). At the same time, we are seeing debates on civilization notions, identities and cultural heritage, including religious while many countries remain secular like in France. The concept of Revolution is now tarnished even if our civilisation has been built and defined in the continuity of several revolutions (political, religious and industrial). What remains then of the legacy of the Revolution – a rich cultural heritage left in disuse – if it is not to encourage us to consume everyday more en more?
Revolustar is a diversion karaoke game that questions us face to the notion of revolution. It introduces a directory of revolutionary songs instead of traditional pop songs. These songs whose authors are, most of the time unknown, offer to listeners lyrics of a rare violence. These lyrics, do not spare politics and the dominant classes. These songs witness a past which is less and less taught to the new generations and, yet, is essential to understanding of the society, as it is the case with the episode of the Commune de Paris.
Revolustar offers two types of transformation/hijack. The song ‘detournement’ and the image ‘detournement’ (detournement is a french word used to describe hijack, misuse, diversion).
The karaoke includes revolutionary and protest songs. Now considered obsolete or folk, they are representative of a history of strong commitments and witnessed many changes that our societies have experienced.
By infiltrating the karaoke within family homes, we question the decline of the revolutionary thinking in a subversive perception . Commercial video-clips initially included in the karaoke are kept but the songs have been substituted.
The irony plays between the song and image, acting here as a flagrant interference and creates a gap between what is viewed and what is meant in the songs.
Imagine, a Destiny Child’s song, where the singers dance languidly on the beach and sing with these lyrics instead of the original song:
It is a wonderful product experienced by science
And that for us the destitute will bring independence
All the better if he sometimes breaks out by many victims
In this bourgeois enemies take revenge for their crimes
Take a pot packed with dynamite
Whatever the season by the new explosion will go quickly
To inspire terror because there is nothing better than dynamite
We guillotine Ravachol a buddy who had the scale
Today is a Spanish be shot for his pace
He in turn able to show that he was an invincible man
In addition he promised that one day would be a terrible revenge
Vive la dynamite !
Each execution we will share our favorite weapon
Because to sow terror there is nothing better than dynamite
Revolustar includes a n other kind of hijack. The original pop videoclips are substituted with footages from strikes, revolts in the street and several contexts, different times and places. The image is raw, devoid of glamor aesthetic and romantic revolutionary treatment. But the songs we hear are very popular hits, pop culture songs. Entertainment by singing going on here that contradicts the image. This interference allows us to live vicariously a very watered down version of the act of rebellion. A fantasy realized without the slightest danger.
Revolustar is a critical work whose efficiency requires minimal parasitic gesture. Our actions are not spectacular but they produce a shift in meaning, reading multiple entries, competing with standard tools.
Revolustar involves the hijacking of a karaoke game focused on playstation 2, to assess the quality of singing different players. Among the assessment criteria, it includes the melody and rhythm accuracy. Through this, anyone entering the microphone can be measured in the form of jousting, assess who will sing the best. Or even via a single player, build a virtual career from the state of “pan” to that of “star”.
Our goal in this project is therefore to keep the game engine, marketing, ergonomics, while substituting the original songs with new ones. Instead of commercial and entertaining songs, we will reinstate a musical and historical heritage: the revolutionary songs. This directory connects to key moments in the history of any society, and each has a distant representation. If spontaneous hymn of the International is familiar to us, provided we have forgotten the old songs or choruses communardes vindictive anarchists. “Chansons”, “Dynamite” or “Bloody Week” to name a few are traces of our collective history. If a company is built on its victories, she also relies shortcomings. The revolution will place in this ambivalence. Because it depends not only on people who appreciate it, analyze it, or directly at that time that “made” the revolution in real time or retrospectively in a time which allows the back and qualifies as a societal upheaval revolution. The revolution appears as climax, siege, the culmination of a utopia, the need for transformation or even slip in an ethical ideological doctrine. Precisely, its historical dimension and complex, the revolution is not a trivial concept for us and perhaps not thought of as a model, an end or an end. Revolution is a transient state that marks a civilization and transforms. Perhaps witnessed mutations, more than trigger the revolution could be considered as a transformation of thoughts and the possibility of founding a new social model, but also cultural, political, ethical, ecological.
But … What remains today of the revolution? What culture of revolution do we keep? Have we not seen the assimilation of values and symbols from the revolution in mass industry? What upheaval perspective we have left? What escape any possibility of ideals there remains to each individual? These are the questions that brought us to produce a minimalist gesture and yet very effective, embezzlement and conversion of a consumer product from a leisure industry. And we know, the entertainment industry, and by extension that of the video game is able to digest everything, transformed for commercial purposes. If video games gradually introduce values of fairness, respect for the environment or for assistance, provided the market is still mainly focused on war simulations, shoot them up, FPS and other combat simulations, challenges and confrontations. Children, adolescents and young adults, the majority of the targets in the video game field then constitute a competitive culture, take the taste challenge and surpassing the other. Compete against each other, assert; the aim is to win and win against the other. We are still far from a cooperative model.
Singstar, game published by Sony, is an interactive karaoke model and encourages players to measure them singing on tubes. Needless to say that the development of such projects is terribly simplified when you know that Sony has one of the biggest titles of catalogs in the world. The Singstar game remains broadly the same from one edition to another: Anthem, Rock, NRJ turn, ABBA, Queen, POP … The game engine is reused, only skins graphics and titles change. Each title is assigned a music video, lyrics and music.
– Keep music videos and songs, but turn subtitles by breaking the revolutionary lyrics on the same syllabic models as original songs.
– Keep the music and lyrics of a song and change the tube video with a video made by us. These videos can be montages made from recordings made during popular riots and protests across different countries. Example: “Oh friend” of African Connection on a clip depicting events and black blocks in the street.
– Keep music videos and completely change the associated songs and lyrics. Example: the video for Destiny’s Child: “Survivor” on the song Dominique Grange: “Strike Unlimited”
It is amazing how a song, its rhythmic quality, melodic or songwriter can change the perception that one has an image. The clip: “Survivor” Destiny’s Child face three young women survivors of a shipwreck and surviving on a desert island. As in the film, an independent and dignified martial community Amazons is created. What would fall almost paramilitary, the image on an armed struggle in a hostile environment becomes in contact with “Strike Illilitée” Dominique Grange, a call to resistance, to fight for the workers’ struggle. The picture becomes meaningful way. And so is what interests us. How doubt, uncertainty point in the use of the spectators.
Revolustar is an interactive object that keeps its appeal by the playful and participatory aspect. Perhaps the critical end of this room is secondary in terms of game mechanics and uses the console implies, however we believe that this concept of revolution still needs to be discussed and debated. If many believe it is overused, it must not however be abandoned in favor of cynicism, we can not enhance the effects of or revolutions but rather the energy, creative subject who helped them emerge. We will have the gratification to reinvest a heritage considered obsolete today and extend the notion of history in domestic use. In this, the hack works as discursive practice in a reappropriation of everyday life.