Juliana Godoy’s selection: 5 crossovers between Music Videos & Art
By Juliana Godoy
Music Video is an art form in of itself. A really new one if we point out that MTV was launched in 1981, and their product barely didn’t exist yet. But the video clip exploded, and it certainly made a major shift in the musical landscape as it became a new platform for artistic creation. And not just another one, but one that has to be related to a music imaginary.
There’ve been people that have become a well known an artist for their work directing a music video. But here we searched for collaborations between musicians and artists from other fields, especially tasked to put their signature mark on a general artistic project.
From the beginnings of music videos till risky new projects, from Andy Warhol’s short films to the evocative Roberto Longo, here’s our selection:
New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle (1986)
Director: Roberto Longo
Longo is an American painter and sculptor, who became known in the early ’80s for “Men in the Cities“, a series of drawings that depicted men and women dressing business suits, in contorted poses, falling, dancing, collapsing, etc.
This same concept is taken by Longo in New Order’s video clip: in the famous chorus, we can see a man and a woman, preppily dressed, falling free in a blue sky. The experimental video was mainly made by vertiginous fast cuts mixed with takes of New Order performing live.
Longo then interrupts the song with what it seems a scene out of a black and white movie, with a dialogue between a guy and a girl. She says “I don’t believe in reincarnation because I refuse to come back as a bug or as a rabbit”. He answers back “You know, you’re a real ‘up’ person”. When a third person appears in the room with, she seems surprised. The bizarre love triangle is pictured.
The Dandy Warhols – Not if you Were the Last Junkie on Earth (1998)
Director: David Lachapelle
Renown fashion and fine arts photographer David LaChapelle featured the band playing in what it looks like an acid bizarre TV show, representing (or manifesting) an overdose while the band performs on set among a group of dancing syringes. Spoiler alert: the person OD-ing dies.
Taylor wrote the ironic lyrics after finding out his former girlfriend had become a heroin addict while he was on tour. “There was no fucking way that I was going to respect that shit enough to write a heavy, sad song.” he later said to MOJO.
The band expected the song to be a massive hit, so getting LaChapelle on it was a huge investment: It cost 400.000$, a wonderful waste of money before they sold the product. As it is portrayed in the documentary Dig!, the band didn’t see how that glam style could fit in Dandy Warhol’s aesthetic, but they did it just because it would be a fantastic advertisement.
Finally, the album received a generally positive reception from critics and sealed their rock’n’roll reputation.
The Cars – Hello Again (1984)
Director: Andy Warhol
Ric Okasec had met Andy Warhol for a while when he called him and tasked The Cars´ next music video from their album “Heartbeat City“.
Warhol and his team gathered an interesting cast of characters, but instead of relying on his celebrity friends, they decided to go with new faces and young performers of the New York underground scene. The video takes place in a bar, where Warhol is the bartender. The ambient is playfully sexual: a man with a snake around his neck, androgyny, small cars driving over some exposed breasts with stop motion animation, an extended french kiss (recreated from “The Kiss“, Warhol’s first movie)… and don’t forget about the band. the video is a bizarre cocktail with Warhol’s sexual radical signature on it.
Off course the first version of this music video was censored, and the general audience only knew the clean one. We are giving you access to the uncensored one. Your welcome.
Bjork – Where Is The Line? (2005)
Director: Gabriela Friðriksdóttir
Gabriela is an Icelandic artist and sculptor. Her work, associated with New Gothic Art, caught Bjork’s attention, and they started working together. In the beginning, Gabriela was commissioned for the artwork of the albums Family Tree, Greatest Hits, and It’s in our Hands.
Later, the two artists combined efforts again for “Where Is The Line”, the music video for a song from the album Medúlla. It was shot at a stable in Iceland and shows Björk wearing a dress made of sandbags and standing in a barn full of hay. She gives birth to a convulsing person covered in a white stickiness who, who after a wild dance, withdraws back inside the host. After a series of explosions, a number of creatures made of hay emerge from the haystacks. They surround her and cover her with their bodies on the ground until she is no longer visible.
This video work is also part of the Versations Tetralogia that Gabriela exhibited at the Venice Bienniale in 2005. There the artist addressed the imbalance of emotions, the chaos, the disintegration and disorder of this era.
Queens of the Stone Age – “The vampyre of time and memory“ (2013)
Directors: Kii Arens & Jason Trucco
Jason Trucco is an artist whose drawings, prints, films, and interactive installations have been exhibited in galleries internationally. Kii Arens is a graphic designer, pop-artist and the owner of La-La Land Gallery (LA). Together, they’ve been directing several music videos, and they even worked with the QOTSA before.
The “Trucco and Arens style” is more about mixing various art forms and media in what they call “an appropriate vocabulary“, that means taking on a band’s sound to converting it to its proper look. So in this videoclip they displayed a very epic and surreal atmosphere, symbolically and emotionally loaded: Two mysterious maids lead the audience into an antique house, dark and medieval. The band stands wearing tuxes in an obscure room full of dead animals preserved by taxidermy. A goth madame, the main character of the video, plays the vampyre of time and memory.
For this project, Arens and Trucco decided to go further, making this interactive video in 2013. The thing is that now the link to experience the interactive option is disabled. LOL. What’s the point of putting all that effort in a piece that is supposed to be “the future of music videos“ if you cannot see it in the future? Luckily, there’s the regular 2D version online we can enjoy right below: