"An Emmy for Rebuilding a Galaxy" – NEW YORK TIMES
"The Fan-Made Star Wars Uncut Is the Greatest Viral Video Ever" – VULTURE
"‘Star Wars Uncut’: The world remakes a classic" – LA TIMES
Crowdsourcing emerged along the last few years as one of the main contribution of the digital revolution to the transformation of labor in a post-industrial age. Although controversial when it is employed as a form of contemporary slavery, crowdsourcing has also an enormous potential when it is used to stimulate amateur creativity and distributed participation in the artistic process.
This becomes clear looking at Star Wars Uncut, a project started in 2009 by Casey Pugh that won a 2010 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media – Fiction.
Described as “the biggest fan remake of all time”, Star Wars Uncut is a crazy fan mashup remake of the original Star Wars movies. In 2009, Casey was inspired to use the Internet and an ever-ready pool of passionate Star Wars fans to crowdsource the classic film Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977). The original movie has been split in 480 scenes of 15 seconds each, and Internet users and Star Wars fans have been invited to claim a scene and to make a remake within 30 days. Each scene could be recreated in any possible way: live action, homemade re-enactment, stop motion, flipbooks, action figures, 3D animation, animated ASCII art, etc. Once all 480 scenes were claimed, all the scenes have been unlocked again so that more people could participate. About a thousand fans from 300 countries all around the world took part in the process, and all the scenes are available online on the project's website and on YouTube.
When the collaborative process was completed, Casey Pugh and his team – which included Aaron Valdez (video editor), Bryan Pugh (sound design/mixing) and Jamie Wilkinson (video narrator) – started working on the submitted material to turn it into a full feature film, that was released online to the public in January 2012. The “Uncut” movie was generated by a computer program written by Pugh that automatically played the highest rated rendition of each scene, and compiled those scenes on the fly, so the movie can change in real time depending on the ratings of users. This makes Star Wars Uncut not just a work of fan fiction depending on crowdsourcing, but a code-directed movie, generated online and welcomed by the broadcast world. Finally, the Director's Cut is a fully edited movie with the actual Star Wars soundtrack, which will be on display at Aksioma Project Space.
In addition to the remake of the famous fourth episode, the remake of Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back is in post-production. The making of the next episode is expected to take place in 2014.
The film Star Wars Uncut is thematically related to the upcoming exhibition and series of events Eternal September, which the Aksioma Institute is planning in collaboration with the Škuc Gallery and curator Valentina Tanni. Namely, Eternal September explores the relationship between amateur culture and professionalism in the field of contemporary art, the rise of a new participatory culture, and the viral and collaborative nature of this new scenario.