11 August 2011
Venue: Patrick Hanan Room 501, Arts 2, 18 Symonds Street
Department of Film, Television and Media Studies seminar by Allan Cameron, The University of Auckland.
Over the course of the past decade, electronic music’s ongoing affective and semiotic engagement with technology has been extended and transformed through the frame of the music video. Although electronica videos are diverse in their approaches, they are dominated by an aesthetic of instrumentality, with recurrent features that include visual abstraction, architectural and machinic forms, and various types of lateral movement within the image. In these videos, the datascape becomes a central metaphor, tying together sonic and visual affect with notions of (neo)modern instrumentality. At the same time, the abstract malleability of these audiovisual datascapes allows for a ‘repurposing’ of their geometrical cubes and grids as dynamic fields for play and exploration. The paper will conclude with a discussion of the Chemical Brothers video Star Guitar (Michel Gondry, 2002), in which digital compositing is used to create a synchronized and gridded physical landscape that resembles the audio production interface through which the music itself was generated and arranged. The landscape is thus transformed into a type of ‘environmental interface’, which both responds to and exceeds instrumental control. Engaging with the ‘techno-logic’ of contemporary experience, the videos discussed here explore and in some cases challenge the instrumental connotations of digital media technologies.