Ozzy’s Crazy Carousel Ride

Jul 15, 2011 by

No, this post isn’t about comparing pop culture icon Ozzy Osbourne’s career to an out of control carousel ride. It’s an attempt to create a discordant piece of media that both confuses and delights viewers. In reality, it’s a secret assignment that I’ve been wanting to submit to ds106 for a few months, but wanted to wait until an appropriate time to release it upon the internet.

I captured all of the footage at a local family center on the shores of Lake Michigan. Besides the carousel, the center houses a ballroom, a giant digital kaleidoscope, and a hand’s on children’s discovery center. We purchased a family membership to the center last winter in an effort to escape the cabin fever that sets in about mid-January here in Michigan, and we’ve been loving everything about it. So much so that I wanted to create a commercial to help publicize the carousel, but with a twist.

It would have been too easy to simply capture the video complete with band organ wailing away in the background, but I wanted something that would be more eye and ear catching, a discordant piece of media that would get stuck in your head because of the contrasting media involved; video of a bright, colorful children’s carousel mashed up with one of Heavy Metal’s iconic sounds; Ozzy Osbourne. While I realize that may seem strange, as many people have told me the video is a bit “creepy”, but I sort of like it. It creates a dissonance that you normally wouldn’t associate with seeing/hearing in your regular television browsing, but it seems to work nicely for the web.

Beyond the fact that it’s been an interesting experiment, I would love to see more English teachers exploring the role that dissonance plays in literature, media, and how we process the world. Too often we try to find “perfect” pieces of music and visual media to compliment one another, which leads to an overabundance of presentations at conferences and in the classroom of “ahhhhh, how peaceful and wonderful” moments. What if we flipped the idea to produce media that portrayed a perfect balance of two disimilar pieces of media? Not that I’m maintaining mine is perfect by any means, as it certainly isn’t for everyone.

9 Comments

  1. Ben,

    I agree with you, I think the dissonance is key. And I found myself banging my head towards the end of the video. I love this idea for an assignment, and hope you submitted, though I am sure you did cause you are that good. One of the problems with the video portion of this class is we really don;t have that many great video assignments, we are pretty solid up and until video, but then it gets thin.

    Now, if I can say just how jealous I am of you and your family right now. This place looks amazing, and I was having a pretty intense dose of nostalgia while watching it because I grew up next to a very similar carousel in my hometown of Baldwin, LI when i was a kid. We had a famous carousel that was originally from Coney Island, and it had brass rings, organ music, a lion, a dragon, the whole nine yards—it was amazing. Anyway, I was thinking a few years back just how much I wanted one of these very parks in Fredericksburg based on the one in my hometown, which was called Nunley’s. I went on a Google search and found all kinds of cool stuff about Nunley’s which led to this indulgent post on the bava, all which brings me back to my jealousy that you are living the dream. BASTARD!

    • In many ways I am living the Dream, Jim.

      You may be jealous of what I have now, but I’m equally jealous of the experiences you had growing up. Silver Beach used to be the exact type of turn of the century amusement park that you described (http://www.rememberingsilverbeach.com/). It had the carousel, the old style wooden roller coaster, bumper cars, fun house, and giant water slides that slid you directly into Lake Michigan. Sadly, it was all torn down in the early 70s, before I was born to see it.

      The carousel that exists now was a HUGE community effort that started with a small group of pretty dedicated individuals back in 2003 that were missing the brass ring and band organ in much the same way you do. They raised money, had public art projects to raise awareness, even worked with a couple of local corporations and charitable foundations. So you know…..if you really want the dream, it’s never too late to start it yourself 🙂

      I did submit this as an assignment, though I put it into the Mashup, which I’m not sure was the best place.

      P.S. Really dug your little trip down memory lane post you shared.

  2. I love the video. I actually thought the music worked shockingly well and you timed things amazingly. I was quite impressed.

    Your point about always finding things that go together perfectly and setting a tone of peace and calm is an interesting one to me. I think I (and probably most folks) learn a lot more when things push me rather than lull me. So, a slight disconnect or just being a bit at odds is better, in many ways, than a perfect pairing. I hadn’t considered it before this but I’m likely to think about future presentations a little differently.

    And, like Jim, I’m jealous. Growing up in Dallas we had Penny Whistle Park which was full of little kid carnival rides and games – inside. It probably mattered more in the summer there rather than the winter, but whenever we went it was awesome.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed, Jenny. A bunch of my friends on Facebook thought it was exceptionally creepy, heh.

      And I’m with you….I usually don’t achieve much work that I’m proud of when everything seems to be going swimmingly. It’s when I’m confronted with adversity, or dissonance that I tend to work much harder (although it’s painful at first to deal with that disharmony as I can be rather thin-skinned at times). And I think I might be looking for ways to incorporate more of this in some of my presentations as well.

  3. Suzshaff

    Hey Ben,
    For me, your video taps into something really big…the dissonance is a metaphor for the times in which we find ourselves… everything seems different – the way we are (as people) with each other – the way that students are in our classes – the way we learn – I’m no spring chicken and as a teacher, I feel the gap between me and my students and it’s a jolt – so much of life today feels like a jolt – shifting sands – something – your dissonance rings true – and it’s a jolt to hear and feel reality smack in my face… and yet, juxtaposed against the carousel and the happy memories many shared above…is it even more powerful to think that behind the music is what we yearn for anyway…simplicity, fun, the security of childhood before we knew that things could actually go wrong…
    So on first glance, I didn’t like the dissonance, because it is too much like real life…but it reminded me that also there is the other… and we hold them all in balance (most days?) in these changing dissonant times?

    Nice work – like people standing back in an art gallery wondering what something means – you made that happen. Happy weekend everyone!

    • I love that you brought up that gap that you feel between yourself and your students. I was so concerned about that when I was a neophyte educator that I actually consumed a lot of the media and pop culture that my students were, for fear that I wouldn’t be “hip” enough.

      I watched Cartoon Network, I played Pokemon, and I even tried to stay knowledgeable about which version of Power Rangers and Yu-Gi-Oh was on TV. I tried to play the same little flash games they played online, and after several months…it was still obvious, no matter what I did to try to understand better, it was still a matter of the experiences and the years that I had were a very clear separating force between them and me. Sure we share certain experiences, but the gap still existed. The biggest commonality that we shared though was just wanting to have fun….to laugh with one another, to learn from each other, and to show each other the work we were doing (I often do assignments along with my students) just to “show off” 🙂

      I think that we too often seek out those pleasing and perfect moments in media because of what you said, dissonance is reality, in fact it’s the majority of what many of us struggle with each and every day. I’m humbled that what I put together made you step back and ponder a bit deeper.

  4. I only just found this ben. Love it. For me and my family a place like this would be a nightmare to deal with so the song fits – it soes in fact capture a bit what it feels like to have autism and suffer sensory overload – colours, lights, noise, people laughing, kids screaming. Sends you crazy.

  5. I understand and appreciate valve′s politics on you make new games, making and planning it untill rock has turned into diamond, but come on.

  6. hmmmm… I’m reading so many posts round the diablo 3 european community forums… the gamers are bloody angry! This rmah thingy features ruined the gameplay, with the droprate round the various difficulty levels lowered a large amount, from what I’ve evaluation…

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