I thought for Central Station’s Mix Blog, I’d focus on music videos that have considerably more happening for them than meets the eye. Sort of like Transformers. Music videos which could easily stand alone from being just a promotional tool for the artist (some could say this is what makes it’s a promotional tool in the first place…) and start to cross over into the world of technology, embracing complex computer algorithms, programming and machinery. Should these videos be classes as works of art in their own right?

One music video that automatically springs to mind is Autechre’s, Gantz Graf:

This video, directed by Alex Rutterford, focuses on a random collection of abstract objects, which move and shift to the pulsating beat of the track. Which is nothing revolutionary. What makes it stands out is the level of programming skill that has gone into the piece. Apparently the director stated that there’s “no generative element to the imagery; every three-dimensional object in the agglomeration was painstakingly and manually synchronised with a specific element or frequency range within the track”.

Almost as if he’s given each individual layer of the track a personality, like a weird form of A.I. But would taking away the track make it “lifeless”? It reminds me of electronic music instruments, mainly sequencers like the Tenori-on which merge visuals and audio so seamlessly that one simply can’t function without the other.

Another video that I thought of was Radiohead’s, House of Cards:

In this video, “Geometric Informatics and Velodyne Lidar” technology (or in lamens terms, motion capture with lasers) was used to scan the movements of Thom Yorke and his surroundings. There are no cameras involved and the images we are presented with are just data. You can see a ‘Making Of’ video here.

Radiohead are no strangers when it comes to innovation in their videos, but I think this is one of their most intriguing ones, just due to the complex work processes the artists and scientists had to undergo, resulting in something quite ethereal.  And I quite like the idea of presenting raw computer processes as something tangible, before our eyes.

One last video I’ll mention, before I stop waffling is Björk’s, Wanderlust:

A departure from the obviously computer based works of art mentioned above, this video was filmed in “stereoscopic 3D” and merges quite traditional techniques like puppetry with CG, producing psychedelic imagery seamlessly. The sense of depth in this video blows my mind and shows how old school skills can mix with technologically advanced techniques to create something completely new and exciting.

Anyway, something to ponder on!

Find out more about Jessica Ashman here.


Mix-Blog: A bit like a mix-tape but with blogs instead. Read more from the series here.