Sonic Outlaws

Ten years after its release, Craig Baldwin's Sonic Outlaws has received the DVD treatment. A documentary about electronic folk culture, copyright law and artistic appropriation, Sonic Outlaws starts off by throwing us into the tail end of the Negativland/U2 scandal. Shot on 16mm, the film serves as a perfect one-shot primer on the hoaxes of the Bay-Area media collective and features some candid interviews with all the members. Although this first half-hour may only appeal to diehards, Baldwin then broadens the documentary's scope by introducing other copyright activists like John Oswald, Emergency Broadcast Network and the Barbie Liberation Organization. This is where things get interesting. As these collectives begin to discuss each other's work, and as they begin to talk about the history of artistic appropriation, Baldwin ably delivers an underground culture and community fully embracing and subverting the medium of their time. That time may have come and gone, but Sonic Outlaws should remain a cult favourite for years to come. (Other Cinema,