Years before YouTube, rogue editors were creating collages of curious found footage and calling the results video mixtapes. Fans prized these semilegal movies both for the odd moments that composed them and for the ways those moments were cut up and juxtaposed for horrific or comic effect.
Derrick Beckles has been producing TV Carnage, a series of satiric mixtapes, since 1996. His most recent effort, Let’s Work It Out, scrambles years of home fitness programs and related material, mostly from the 1980s, into a cabinet of wonders—a free-associative workout tape populated with refugees from the worlds of sports, soaps, sitcoms, Scientology, and porn.
Many themes emerge in the DVD, but Beckles is especially interested in the sexual side of the source material: the voyeuristic vibe that sometimes bubbles just under the surface and sometimes is acknowledged overtly. Not that anything can be very erotic with all that ’80s hair in the frame.