Artist Lindsay Scoggins Makes Miss Piggy Sing Peaches and Herzog Sing Pitbull
One day, in an effort to Google Peaches, a magical YouTube video appeared. It featured two goddesses of 'tude, Miss Piggy and Peaches. Some genius had taken moving pictures of the Kermit-loving muppet and edited it to make it look like she was singing "Fuck the Pain Away." This genius is Miami's own Lindsay Scoggins.
She's also made the mouths of Hitchcock move to Rick Ross and Werner Herzog to Pitbull, which announced the arrival of the seventh Borscht Film Festival. Scoggins was also selected as one of 25 artists that participated in the 2010 Guggenheim's YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video and has shown at the Guggenheim Museums or collections in New York, Venice, Bilbao, and Berlin. We spoke with the talented and funny Scoggins about exhibiting Miami artists in L.A. and her viral videos.
New Times: Your videos are hilarious and hypnotic. Was Miss Piggy/Peaches the first one you created?
Lindsay Scoggins: Sometimes a video will start playing in my head and I'll wish that I can look it up online and watch it. These ideas are persistent, and eventually I end up making the videos myself, forcing the things I wish existed to exist. Experimenting with non-linear video editing since age 15, I've created many videos without showing anyone.
"Fuck the Pain Away" sung by Miss Piggy was one of the first videos released to the world after classmates in college requested that I put the material online. Peaches and Piggy needed to be married, so I made it happen. It's not a fan video though. It's referencing media as a milestone during one's lifetime, meshing sources of media I encountered at two different points in my life (during childhood and adulthood) creating a dialogue addressing associative memory, developing mental states, personal history, and the extreme prevalence of media in our society.
How long does it take you to make one of the videos that sync up the images and songs?
Finding the footage is the longest step in the process. I often have to do a lot of research, using various sources to track down all the footage needed for a project. After that comes experimentation with the clips to make each moment perfectly sync, which comes together quickly. The Miss Piggy video was created in two all-nighters. Producing Wonderland Mafia was a two-month endeavor. It varies depending on the composition length, the level of articulation in the appropriated footage, and how easy it is to locate everything I need.
You were involved in the Borscht Film Festival, and even made a trailer with Werner Herzog for the event. Was this the first year you screened something at the festival?
I met the Minister of the Interior Lucas Leyva and Jillian Mayer at the Guggenheim YouTube Play award ceremony last year. We were all surprised there were two girls from South Florida who won the international contest and soon after they asked me if they could commission a video for the Borscht. My video "Herzog Defends Dade" was originally exhibited during Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 as part of his MIA | MI CIELO exhibition. The video illustrates the relationship between the essence of Miami and fine art through a combination of the musical styling of local rapper Pitbull and avant-garde filmmaker Werner Herzog.
Since then I've made several others for Borscht that have been screened and put YouTube and have a few more we're planning to release. Hitchustlin' is the combination of Alfred Hitchcock in my mashup style representing filmmaking in Miami by using the Rock Ross track Hustlin'. It was just released on YouTube but was ripped and put onto a different website where it got over 65,000 hits in the first 24 hours. I'm happy to join the ranks of other videos by Borscht to go viral this year and I hope to continue working with them and possibly direct my own film for their next festival.
The promo video for the Party Animals exhibition you curated in L.A. is awesome. Why did you decide to use Miami artists in that exhibition?
I asked one of my favorite musicians Otto Von Schirach to work on a song for the promo video. We seem to be on a similar wavelength so I wasn't surprised how easily he was able to create the perfect track for Party Animals.
The exhibition was an amazing opportunity! I was asked to curate a show at the Royal/T Gallery in California from Susan Hancock's collection of contemporary art. The Miami artists were an ideal choice to complement the Hancock collection. Jillian Mayer's video created a perfect pairing with Yoko Ono and Aya Takano's work. A few more of the locals to be seen are LoCastro, Friends With You, David Tamargo, and the TM Sisters. If you're in L.A. check it out, the show is open daily at Royal/T until September 24th.
You worked with Afrobeta to create their video set during Ultra. Can you tell me what that looked like?
Cuci and Tony (of Afrobeta) are the best! I was introduced to them when they recorded the soundtrack for an animation art piece I created after just moving to Miami and the connection was instantaneous! When they asked me to re-vamp their live show, we talked about what their needs were onstage and how my mashup style could work well for a crowd. The 20 minute set contains several mashups, including an ephemeral film sequence to the track Play House, classic western gun shots synced to every snare hit for Pistol Whip, an assemblage of Merry Melodies violence, exploding Rubiks' cubes in outer space, and an Afrobeta-fied version of the final scene in Scarface that also screened at the Borscht Film Festival.
What are you up to next?
One of my upcoming projects involves a new method of animation I'm currently developing. I can't divulge production details yet, but it's going to be exciting and unique. Otto asked me to work with him to make the videos for his highly anticipated new album. Our styles have meshed well in the past, so I'm thrilled to be working with him more. Also soon I'll be creating my own musical compositions again, something that I took a hiatus from for a couple years and can't wait to jump back into.