Retrospect (Star Trek: ENT vid)

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Title: Retrospect
Creator: Red Fenix
Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise

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Retrospect is a Star Trek: ENT vid by Red Fenix.

Reactions and Reviews

Working on my list of ten desert island vids got me thinking about what it is that I love about vids. For me, an important part of the appeal is the chance that they offer me to see through other people's eyes.

This train of musing was set off by the Star Trek: Enterprise music vids made by Red Fenix of TrekBBS. When I first saw them, back in 2004 this would have been, I was on the TrekBBS boards as a fan of the original Star Trek and TNG, but emphatically not of Enterprise. In fact, I couldn't for the life of me understand what it was its enthusiastic fans saw in the series. And it was while lurking on the Enterprise forum, motivated by a combination of curiosity, masochism and ambulance-chasing instinct, that I first started watching fanvids and fell in love with them.

(Not quite relevant to the story here: I had seen professional music videos while at Creation's Star Trek conventions as a child, and had been making vids in my head ever since. But this was my first exposure to actual fanvids.)

The Enterprise vids were fantastic. To some extent, vids from any series would have been fantastic, as I was incredibly impressed with the technical skill, the timing, the artistry that was involved. What really struck me, though, was something deeper: the emotion involved. Suddenly, I could understand what fans saw when they watched Enterprise; I could see the show as they saw it, through their eyes. What were the important moments, what were the emotional overtones, what was the context, the mood, the atmosphere that Enterprise offered to them? Suddenly I understood. Vids showed me that.

As a result of those vids that I found, both my mother and I started watching Enterprise again. To be honest, we both still thought it was pretty lousy. But at least I understood on a more visceral level what it was that other people saw in it.

In fandom we talk a lot about the gaze and what it means to see in a certain way. We understand such things as "slash goggles." We know that one person can read a scene as dripping with unresolved sexual tension while another sees only a close but entirely platonic friendship. We do our best to explain to one another the ways in which we see, but words can only do so much.

Vids go one step further. Through them, we can see as another sees. That small handclasp in an outwardly platonic scene--emphasised by a musical phrase or through echoing its motion or through slowing it down slightly--suddenly can attain the importance in a vid that it has in the mind of the vidder. Music and motion and color carry an emotional weight that words don't, and by using them effectively, the vidder can create an equal reaction in the heart of a sensitive and sympathetic viewer. A great vid has as many overtones, and as much complexity, as a great piece of literature.

(Of course, vids can often have a meaning and an emotional impact that the vidder didn't expect or even necessarily want. This just adds to the complexity of the experience. In fact, as works of art based on other works of art, other texts, they function as both art and art criticism simultaneously. You have both the immediate emotional impact, which is often considerable, and then the intellectual analysis to come.)

For me, learning to see the world in a different way is a fascinating experience. That's why I love social and intellectual history; that's why I love writing fiction; and that's why I love vids. They broaden my horizons, allowing me to move beyond my own narrow viewpoint and to, for a few minutes at least, live through another person's mind and heart and eyes. [1]


  1. ^ Meta: The appeal of fanvids, emily shore, April 2, 2007