Aaron Valdez is a film and video artist working with sound and video found on cable television and the web. Since 2007, he's been working with a group calling themselves Wreck & Salvage (pictured, left to right, Adam Quirk, Aaron Valdez, Erik Nelson). The trio of film and video artists are scattered across two different continents, working together to help promote eachother's work of video appropriation. Check out Wreck & Salvage HERE.
Valdez has been involved with a number of film series in Iowa City and Austin, Texas. He's also the co-founder of a great, if short-lived project called Lost In Light. The website is still up and active, making available a wealth of lost movies, shot on 8mm and Super 8 film, by home movie makers for a period of over fifty years. The site offers an archive of home movies and educational films, showcasing everything from anonymous family portraits and vacations, to amateur travelogues and some more creative fare like the home movie about a trip to Mars, shot in 1968 by a group of young kids with a knack for homemade science fiction!
Valdez has worked with everything from found footage, to Super 8 and 16mm film, multiple projection performances and installation, as well as hand-painted film, video installation and video blogging. We're limited to playing the audio from his film collage, but you can check out an example in Episode 150, or visit his website HERE.
Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Aaron Valdez of Wreck & Salvage...
*Name: Aaron Valdez
*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Wreck & Salvage, W&$
*Do you use a pseudonym? No.
*Members: Erik Nelson, Adam Quirk, and Aaron Valdez
*Founding Members: Erik Nelson, Adam Quirk, and Aaron Valdez
*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Appropriated video. I generally just tell people video remix though I've noticed in the video world people use remix and mashup more and more to describe editing in general without the implication of the material being appropriated.
*Is there a story behind your name?: (Wreck & Salvage is) a play on the idea of the mediated world as a big U-pull-it junkyard. We all come from working-class backgrounds so we wanted a name that represented that. Owner-operated, fiercely American, get dirty and bang the hell out of it.
*Location: Valdez is in Michigan, Quirk is in Brooklyn, and Nelson is in Vermont/the Netherlands.
*Original Location: Valdez originally from Houston, Quirk from Evansville, Ohio, and Nelson from Pittsburgh.
*What is your creative/artistic background: We all have creative writing, music, art, and video/film backgrounds in varying degrees that came together when personal episodic web video began around 2004-05. We all found each other through our work on the web. I was producing a video podcast just using re-edited cable television. Nelson & Quirk came up with the idea to use the growing pool of internet video to base new work on. That's where we began.
*History: Collectively as Wreck & Salvage since 2007. Individually, since the turn of the century.
*Motivations: We make things because we like to play. I think there's an overall Dadaist sense of humor to everything we do. Pop culture and politics are big motivators, a lot of times it's just finding a single video that inspires you to manipulate it or expand on it.
*Philosophy: Go to work. Practice informs philosophy.
*How would you like to be remembered: Beneath of layer of static on a VHS tv tape between the Home Shopping Network and Highway to Heaven in a $1 box at a garage sale.
*Web address: wreckandsalvage.com