Joseph Gordon-Levitt Talks Collaborative Art
Though the tragic death of his brother Dan in October threw his attendance into doubt, Gordon-Levitt vowed to keep his recent college tour alive to pay tribute to Danâs legacy. In doing so he provided USC students with an event that was informative yet most notable for the interactivity that Gordon-Levitt inspired in it.
The website hitRECord.org, which Gordon-Levitt founded in 2004, accepts creative submissions from anybody and everybody, whether their specialty be writing, design, or music. Once a piece has been uploaded the artistâs fellow âhitRECordersâ are encouraged to add their input to the piece and create an even more substantial work of art.
As hitRECord has grown in popularity, the company has taken on relatively large-scale projects that have been shown at Sundance and the SXSW Festival. Gordon-Levitt screened one such project for the crowd: a six-minute short titled "Morgan M. Morgansenâs Date with Destiny" that placed live-action actors (Gordon-Levitt as well as Channing Tatum) in an animated world. Even with some help from Gordon-Levitt these projects are mostly the brainchild of the siteâs everyday contributors and half of the profits are divvied up between these artists.
Not only does Gordon-Levitt give undiscovered artists a chance to demonstrate their talent but he also seeks to promote the collaborative process, a goal that he also applied to his presentation at USC.
Entering to rousing screams from admirers and with a video camera in hand, Gordon-Levitt encouraged the audience in a packed Bovard Auditorium to not only record him but also to âtweetâ questions throughout the show with a â#hitrecorduscâ hashtag. At regular intervals Gordon-Levitt would pull out his phone and cycle through the audienceâs inquiries on Twitter. Once a question was selected he called upon the user to go to the nearest microphone, at which point Gordon-Levitt not only answered them but also encouraged the person to provide his or her take on the subject.
The question-and-answer segments deliberated on topics such as the difference between art and pop culture, the effect of copyright laws, and the reason behind Gordon-Levitt dropping out of Columbia University.
He attributes the decision to wanting to reenter acting after semi-retirement as well as the moment he purchased Final Cut Pro. He started experimenting with video editing and had too much fun with it to ever read his textbooks. He stressed that though the decision was right for him it may not be right for everybody, just as staying in college may not work for everybody.
As the event drew to a close Gordon-Levitt encouraged the crowd at USC to contribute to hitRECord by detailing some in-development projects looking for artists of every skill. The actorâs commitment to the evolution of hitRECord and the work of others is a breath of fresh air in todayâs celebrity-fueled culture.
Monday nightâs event could be taken as a form of self-promotion but it served more as a promotion of others and an encouragement to students to get their work out there as well.