Tripping Through Video Vaults

Ed Note: Boingboing's current guest blogger Gareth Branwyn writes on technology, pop and fringe culture. He is currently a Contributing Editor at Maker Media. Recent projects have included co-creating The Maker's Notebook and editing The Best of MAKE and The Best of Instructables collections.

My friend, DC-area video artist Rob Parrish, posts a weekly video on his site Next to Heaven. Each week, he goes onto, sniffs out new raw material, dreams up an idea for a found art video, edits, audio-records, and then on Wednesday, releases a new piece. Some of the resulting videos feel immediate, small, off-the-cuff, others strike much deeper, more resonant chords, and are truly impressive in their impact, given the production timeline. I'm always impressed with Rob's clever use of the found footage. And I love his perverse sense of humor. Given the retro source material, there's a haunting quality to many of these videos, a pervasive sense of loss, faded memories, tragic childhoods, dreams unfulfilled, and dirty secrets unrevealed -- all usually leavened with humor and a healthy helping of the absurd. Above is Episode 41, about a junkie who replaces his love of smack with drug education films narrated by Paul Newman. Other favorites of mine include the special episode The Tapes of My Father, about a son who discovers that his late Public Access TV producer dad recorded his innermost thoughts over found video footage from the PATV archives, and Episode 49, which has a man reminiscing about his macho childhood of sports and trouble-making while the video shows a young boy timidly putting on his mother's make-up.


  1. That hurt to watch. Too many buds have gone down that road. I drew a line long ago: if you have to go intravenous, you aren’t doing drugs- the drugs are doing you. I’ve done a lot of stupid crap in my life, but I never crossed that line.
    Save your brain- draw lines. Don’t cross them.

  2. I have to say, with all due respect for the blogger, that video was trash.
    I am not against drugs or anything of the sort.
    If you are going to do something, then do it.

    But, I felt as if the person talking or the person who made this was stretching a bit too far just to sound cool.

    Hey, man. It’s cool to be dependent on inanimate objects. Whatever.

  3. srsly! I’m going to forward them an artist I know, my ultimate compliment considering how witheringly disdainful this artist is. I actually did enjoy them, maybe The Tapes of My Father the most.

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