Elektra 2012 (EN)
Clip, Klapp, Bum - New forms of visual music
The "thing with picture and sound" as I often get to call it myself, interests me as a spectator and as a curator since many years. And it literally haunts artists – filmmakers, musicians etc. - as well as technicians and physics all over the world since ages.
The "thing with sound and picture" is hard to categorize, and hard to define, it is not only music video it is not only visual music, it is not only visuals in a club or a dance performance on or off stage. It moves between a felt synaesthesia and a technical or mathematical preciseness and can be a lots of things in between.
For this program I am focusing on music video and its possibilities to be visual music and create picture from sound – or sound from the picture, and this can only be a hypothesis itself.
CLIP, KLAPP, BUM – the title is taken from Peter Weibel and Veruschka Bódys book on music video from 1987, where they were trying to explore the music video and draw a line between the commercial and the artistic video. I see the title as a reference to their thoughts – but the title is much more than this. I see it already as a form of visualisation of sound – a sound that was translated into letters: an onomatopoeic title, which imitates the sound it denotes.
In the program I was trying to focus on visualisations of music from the last years, an there is a very wide range of different approaches to be discovered – which proves that the topic doesn't stop to interest artists – talking about the selection – especially animation artists. Of course Visualisation of music in Animation is to be seen in a special way also because it follows a long tradition itself.
The music video is still alive despite it's so-called death, after MTV couldn't be called music Television any more. It is more than alive on the internet, in clubs and also at Film Festivals that tend to see the artistic vision behind the video – beyond the advertising character.
So why animated music video? When going back to the beginnings, of course one would start from Len Lye, Ruttmann and Fischinger while trying to explain the roots of visual music. There are indeed two videos / films in this program that can be seen in this tradition: Steven Woloshen's Playtime reminding early Norman McLaren and Len Lye works in direct film. And the second – a students work: Jean-Patrice Blancs Trois, Quatre, which is as structural and geometric as a Fischinger or Ruttmann piece.
Beyond the historical meaning of animation and visual music – there is another reason why I see some of the best examples of visualisation of sound in picture in animation. Animation is one of the arts that can play with imagination (almost) without borders – therefore can get as close as no other media to a feeling of synaesthesia – one of the goals of visualizing music. Many artists in this field are doing multi-sensory experiments, that attempt to convey the synaesthetic experience.
Lots of the works in this program include a synaesthetic moment but also play with movements, forms and figurative representations. One of the oldest visualisations of music - dance - is for example used with motion capturing in the video Ariel, the video Dubus uses simultaneity in the montage, in Vanishing Point every tone seems to have its simultaneous representation in the picture with a new form or a movement, and one of the closest to a synaesthetic experience is a video by the artist duo Jul&Mat for the song by Metronomy On the Motorway.
But sometimes theory fails to describe the emotional experience of a music video or a visual music piece – when while watching you suddenly just feel like tapping your feet to the rhythm of the pictures, which is one of the best things that can happen! I like to call it "music for the eyes", an emotional experience of music, colours, rhythm - atmosphere and sound. Most likely to encounter on the big screen and with the volume up!
curator Animation Avantgarde Vienna, free curator