(Pop)ulism

(pop)ulism from gnovis on Vimeo.

Abstract

“(Pop)ulism” is a Eisensteinian montage of the tropes and practices of
contemporary and recent populism in America and the UK. This mixed media
project seeks to uncover and criticize the Laclauian empty signifiers of populism
(Docherty and Thomas, 342). These empty tropes, terms, and actions correspond
and exist on both sides of the political spectrum. “(Pop)ulism” uses music, as well
as montage, to reveal and critique populist movements. The film and its soundtrack
exist as proof that music has great power in evoking emotion, nostalgia and
ideology. This video essay calls upon a lineage of protests and peace movements
of the 60s and 70s, then transports itself to a similar presentation of
contemporary Tea Party protests. This method of recycling politically conflicting
sounds, images and quotes offers both comparison and contrast. Ultimately, the
project suggests that the tropes and ideology of the actors within the film are
acutely, though not entirely surprisingly, similar. Simply put, the film shows how
identical rhetoric is used to suit the needs of radically different political parties.