Sunday, 6 March 2011


In todays musical climate visual communication is key for bands, singers and clubs alike. In the late 70's, as we all know MTV proved a pivotal moment for the 'pop video' to evolve, custom made with a view to airplay, poptastic film and live coverage endlessly played out on our TV screens. All this meant big budgets and lavish production that the bigger labels could afford, in the affluent 80's our pop stars became superheroes exploring their own their own musical dramas, 3 minute epics filmed in glamourous locations and film studios propped up to the nines with fantastical storylines and extras... or in the case of Michael Jackson over 10 minutes of filmic epilogue. The so called 'underground' scene relied on snatches of super 8 film, low fi endevors pieced together that have since become rather novel in their niavety as they verge on arthouse sensilbilities in order to get a message across. At the time film maker and artist John Maybury used the pop video format to breach and explore new and instant technologies, chroma keyed backdrops and special effects became part of Mayburys artistic style. Working with Neneh Cherry, Marc Almond and Sinead O'Connor he stepped up and embraced the pop video as breach between his original art films and full length features.
John Maybury experimental film 80's

As for me, I became fascinated early on, being part of Visages 'Fade To Grey' and working with Godley and Creme who created this seminal video intrigued me. At the time the digital age seemed like something out of Star Trek - the original series! But here we were filming straight to screen in a set up that resembled something not far away from Dr Who's Tardis. 
Technology really has moved on! Todays version of super 8 could be on your phone, computers have made available not only the recording of instant music but instant film, and yes I am stating the obvious perhaps but come on let's all make a pop video, face facts we're all film makers now... as well as dj's, photographers and musicians. The world of the App is empowering us to record snatches of memory and thus create something that appears everlasting, which seems to be a thing that us humans are addicted to, overwhelming evidence suggests that mankind likes nothing more than to record his own activities and tell everyone about it, me included! 
So much for futurism, nostalgia also has it's place in the fast world of image. Film maker and photographer Emmaalouise Smith has tapped into a style which resembles early film noir when she creates her boyfriend Brandon Jacobs' films for his band Good Night And I Wish*. Seeking out dead film stock she puts things together in a very traditional way, processing film and waiting for the result can be a lengthy and pecarious excercise when compared to digital downloading, but she says,  'Hand processing super 8 in a dark room is an art in itself; temperature, light and how much of a perfectionist I'm feeling on the day often hinder the final result. With expired finds there is definitely an unpredictability and somehow spiritual quality to it'. 
Goodnight And I Wish by Emmaalouise Smith

On the club scene self expression is ripe, and the current explosion of nifty edits record the club event itself and the stars of clubland in full glory soundtracked with suitable pulsating beats. Gabriel Gettman who has worked in the realm of fashion producing experimental film shorts recently concocted a film for Circus, for his version he sliced together a clever collage of stylish club goers in full color attack. Photographer Dorota Mulczynska likewise is producing film shorts directed by the artists and performers from London's The Ace Of Clubs. 
Fruit Loop 

At Shabba Dabba Da they regularly update and record their hedonistic nights and over at Neo Romantic night The Face it's all go with the posing and fb pasting! 
Film makers Tree and Adam Carr cut a dash when they projected a vision of their night Switchblade on Youtube last year, they cleverly injected and spliced apt cult film classics into the equasion.

Switchblade promo

Artistic license always hits the spot, think Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, think Wolfgang Tillmans or  Derek Jarman and the Petshop Boys. And perhaps thats where todays technology sits so well, the tools that enable us to explore the elements of creative expression and imagery combined with the notion of immediacy... start a band, do some gigs, flip on your Flip, get editing and secure a deal! 

Words- Princess Julia

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