BB Video: "A VOLTA" from NASA Project: Narco-Cholo Game Ultraviolence


21 Responses to “BB Video: "A VOLTA" from NASA Project: Narco-Cholo Game Ultraviolence”

  1. Xeni Jardin says:

    @Brett, indeed! @Brett, @Robulus, what we were saying in the BBV studio when we put this together was — have you noticed how great the sound design is on this? It’s very simple in some ways, but the sound design is absolutely everything, and really lends a depth and scope to the viewer’s experience.

  2. BelchFire3000 says:

    This is a disturbing piece of work. Your intro comments seem only to appreciate its formal qualities (which are impressive) without regard to the horror and nihilism of the content. What say you? Commentary on the violence of international drug trafficking? Irony of media treatment of that violence? Why do you feature this video here? Why do you think it is worth promoting?

    Thank you for your attention to these questions.

  3. Xeni Jardin says:

    Um, Belchfire3000, read the whole interview. It’s a work of art, a violent flight of fancy, not a documentary. And contrary to your characterization, Boing Boing is not a promotional service. I don’t “promote” things in these video episodes (unless you’re talking about ads we’ve created) — this is an editorial exercise. Boing Boing is a blog where we explore things we find interesting. Boing Boing Video, same thing, only through video.

    That is what say me.

    If you expected nothing but gentle, soft, upbeat content here, you were misinformed. Sometimes we blog about (or produce original video episodes about) disturbing or violent things. This is art, and it’s somewhat hard art, and I think it’s beautiful, timely work.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think I have epilepsy now after viewing that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well done. Love this sense of humor.

  6. kiddr01 says:

    The video is really amazing, both technically and creatively. Also very impressive as the director really got in tune with the original concept artwork of datefarmers – very hard to do.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Amazing…to say the least. At first I thought it was a music video

  8. jfrancis says:

    That slight chromatic aberration on edges is an interesting touch. And the orthographic angles.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I just watched the video sans sound, and found the video delightful, although I’m a bit disappointed to find that the auteurs didn’t intend to make an explicit statement.

    I found the visual story to be incredibly worthy content on its own. I know BelchFire3000′s question was directed at Xeni, but I’d say that, apart from the technical excellence, the story felt very true from my perspective as a participant in the culture depicted.

  10. Brett Burton says:

    Wow. This video makes me really miss Liquid Television.

  11. Brett Burton says:

    The sound design was truly incredible. While I watched the video, I kept wondering what they used to get those echos and reverbs. I guess I’m just a hopeless audio geek.

  12. burningcanoe says:

    xeni, gotta say…

    I love the video, watched it six times already. sent links to a few friends. and I’m glad you posted it on BB. But I have to call you on saying that BB is not a promotional service – all of you compile wonderful things from around the world, but a fair share of content is update’s on Cory’s books, guest blogger’s books and this video that you produced.
    I am glad you brought this video into the world but the promo thing is something we know and accept on BB – and you seemed kind of prickly about that in the above post.

    with love and respect.

  13. burningcanoe says:

    duh, whoops,

    I just realized Xeni’s producer credit was for the BB excerpt of the Volta video – not the actual video.

    Forget what I said – or, at least the partial promo comment stands.

    mea culpa – colour me douche

  14. Anonymous says:

    inspirational piece of art. congrats to the creators! the camera movement, the scenery, the sound design, the compositing… everything is just great!

  15. Xeni Jardin says:

    @burningcanoe, I am glad you dig the video. But as for the whole “you run a promotional service” BS, I find this insulting.

    First, I didn’t create this music video. I produce the Boing Boing Video series, I’m the Boinger who manages that daily video program, and the NASA folks were kind enough to allow us to show their work on BBV. Read the credits.

    The comment about Cory is a cheap dig, and off-topic. I can’t speak for Cory, or why he posts what he posts, but I respect his choices and his fundamental integrity, and neither are at issue here.

    I do not operate a promotional service, that is not what Boing Boing Video is or has ever been. To say as much is an insult, and I don’t accept it. That is also not what I do on the blog. If we are in the business of promoting things, rather than the business of publishing video + writing about stuff we’re interested in, that implies that we receive compensation from the folks whose wares are being promoted.

    NASA didn’t pay us to run this video. It isn’t an ad. When we run an ad, we’ll let you know, because we’ll label it as an ad.

    This is not a “promotion.” This is an editorial decision I made about what I personally felt was an exceptional music video, in keeping with the greater “boing boing aesthetic,” to the extent there is one. And, some related stories about the creators that I thought would make compelling episodes of our daily original video program.

    That’s an editorial decision. Not a promotional position, not an act of advocacy or commerce. The difference matters to me.

  16. BelchFire3000 says:


    My apologies for introducing the word “promote” here. I assure you I did not mean to imply that you were doing so from any commercial or financial interest, only that your blog serves to bring these things the attention of your . . . what is the right word? . . . readers. I greatly appreciate the work you and the rest of the BB crew do, which is why I so frequently look at the site.

    I confess that I did not read the whole interview before posting, but having done so (and having watched the other two videos [well, have of the mockumentary] and followed all the links) I can’t say that I am any more enlightened about the video or what, aside from the formal qualities — which I’ve already admired — caught your attention.

    For instance: ” Part of what I love most about the video are the messed-up isometric perspectives, the loopy, angular, dizzy POV shifts. As if you’re navigating this world from the perspective of one of these 8-bit narco characters — after a few snorts or puffs of something stimulant and hallucinogenic. Was part of the aesthetic intent here to simulate that kind of charged, psychically-altered state?”

    This is a fine, perceptive question but it is focused on the particulars of construction, composition, or what-have-you of the video (I don’t have much of a vocabulary for describing these things), not it’s content. I realize it is a work of art and that form and content are not easily teased apart, but when one chooses to create art that depicts real world violence — how ever abstracted via technique or materials — one takes on some measure of responsibility for what is said or meant by the depiction. Think “Guernica.”

    The mockumentary only seems to highlight a certain frivolity about the whole thing which makes me wonder about the intention of the artists involved and what they hoped to accomplish. I’ll point out the referencing of Pacino and De Palma (and presumably the movie “Scarface”): what is that about? Is it about me the viewer “knowing” that some real-world thugs adore the movie and feel the Pacino character is some sort of hero? That way I’m an insider w/ the video artists who are being, what?, ironic? dismissive? I honestly don’t know.

    I’m asking these questions sincerely. I can see that the video is technically accomplished and smart and clever. Is it more? Can you tell me how it is more for you?

    Sorry to go on so long. Appreciate you reading and responding.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      @BelchFire3000, I appreciate that you’re asking questions in good faith, and sincerely. I don’t want to devote the energy to write a detailed appreciation of the video — the blog post is pretty long, and I feel like I’ve already said a lot.

      I don’t feel like I need to defend the work, I’m not an advocate or promoter, my role here as the producer of this video series is to bring interesting things to light.

      I think some of the questions you’re asking might be better answered by Logan, or the Date Farmers, but my short answer is: the reasons I find this work interesting involve more than just the technical execution or animation process.

      I dig what the Date Farmers are doing with elements of prison art, Mexican popular culture, and California street iconography. I really dig the dark, frightening universe Logan constructed out of those characters.

      I think it’s okay for artists to create disturbing work, and not everything has to be of the merit or cultural impact of “Guernica” to make the violent content okay. Go back to historical accounts of the day when that painting was first shown, too! The work elicited strong reactions, and I have no doubt that some made the same criticisms you’re making here.

      As Alexei said in the interview, this was not meant to be a direct, linear commentary on drug-related violence. The plot came later, the feeling of the “space” came first for them.

      Art is sometimes an oblique, indirect reaction to factors in the “real world.” I think this is a good example of that.

      Dark, hard, nightmarish art is no more obligated to explain itself or apologize for itself than is upbeat, softer, inspirational art.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Take a look at the characters Logan were given to work with. What were they supposed to have them do, sitting around holding hands and eating cupcakes??? The Date Farmers’ artwork and characters are about as random and irreverent it gets, and the animated video is perfectly aligned with that paradigm. :)

  18. Anonymous says:


  19. robulus says:

    Awesome work.

  20. Anonymous says:

    this is heavily influenced by david oreillys work…

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