GMU:Computer's Cut/Sinan Kılıç

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Investigating and Questioning Birds as Symbols of Freedom and the Human Urge to Fly

Birds have long been associated with the concepts of freedom and liberty. Looking at the lifestyle of most birds, this association makes complete sense. Gliding effortlessly through the air, flying in incredible altitudes, covering impressive distances in short periods of time, they really do seem to possess great freedom.

As I was thinking about birds as symbols of freedom, it occurred to me that there are also a lot flightless bird species. Are chickens also symbols of freedom? Or penguins? Ostriches? If birds are a symbol for liberty, isn't it ironic how some species are treated? This made me question if the true symbol of freedom is flying rather than birds. Is not being bound to earth is what makes us associate birds with freedom so much? Do humans also seek freedom by flying? What are the motivations of people who fly as a hobby e.g. skydivers, BASE jumpers, hobby pilots? Why do people buy private jets? Is freedom a privilege among humans but also among birds?

For this video edit, I compiled audio and video material from various YouTube videos. The audio is composed of speeches of political figures from the US, Germany and Turkey; interviews with people such as skydivers, pilots and BASE jumpers, street interviews etc. Using the 'find_word' python script, I searched for the words 'freedom', 'liberty', 'free' and the corresponding German and Turkish words in the .srt files of each video. I then compiled all of the videos into one file. To mix everything up a bit, I arranged them so that every subsequent clip is from a different video. Then I exported the resulting compilation as a .wav file.

The visual part of the video was created using a python object detection script. I downloaded videos of chicken farms, zoos, penguins, famous eagles, wingsuit flyers, military parades, urban birds and other various material and ran the script, detecting and printing scenes with birds or planes in the frame. Finally, I merged these scenes into one video and combined this with the .wav file I made before this.

The videos I used to make this edit are here: Source Material

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