Music Videos gone Interactive: Success or failure?

Why we aren’t seeing more interactive music videos?

Music videos have always facilitated experimental art because there is an existing script, soundtrack, and tone to work with.  The music provides an existing creative framework which heavily narrows the focus to production.

What’s not successful about the music video platform in interactivity?

I explored these five unique pieces (that each explore a different method of music video interactivity) to find some answers:

1.Ellie Goulding “Lights”

-User-navigated environment, emphasis on visuals

2. Arcade Fire “The Wilderness Downtown”

-User-stimulated environments, emphasis on bridging gap between “Arcade Fire” and audience

3. Cold War Kids “I’ve seen enough”

-User-controlled instrumentation, mild usage of interesting interactive visuals

4. Chairlift “Met Before”

-User-controlled narrative, emphasis on story, no interactive audio/visuals

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Look Around”

-User-controlled narrative, engaging content, many options to choose from

While most of these music videos had limited use of interactivity in some way, RHCP’s “Look Around” really engages with the viewer by making there ample options of things to play around. Allowing the user to scroll between four videos, each starring one member of RHCP doing something silly, gives enough footage that we don’t lose interest.  Hidden in each video are highlighted items you can click to see personal footage of band members just being, well, human.

With the five music videos above, the interactive waters have been tested and my diagnosis is that we need to make these videos more interesting, via more content, more interaction, or more narrative.  My favorite pieces were Chairlift’s “Met Before” and RHCP’s “Look Around” because the narrative pulled me in–and after all, isn’t that what makes a music video successful? Great music is what gets you a video, but it’s not what makes a video great.

Video has always been about telling a story, and you can’t engage with your audience without one.  Cold War Kids “I’ve seen enough” impressed me with its creativity, but gave me no reason to stick around for the whole song after I’d worn out the interactive capabilities.  Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” was awesome for about 30 seconds, but then I lost interest after I realized I’d be seeing nothing new if I kept playing.

Maybe as this technology becomes less fresh, we’ll start seeing some real blockbuster interactive music videos. Until then, I’ll just enjoy this one:

Fly Over Beautiful 3D Landscapes in Interactive Game Woodbot Pilots

“A 3D gestural game. Using an IR 3D Camera, we translate gestures of the human body navigate a virtual landscape.

Start the game, choose a character and try and get the fastest time through the race track.

This project was launched at Skellefteå airport in Northern Sweden as an installation.”

Credits: Interactive Institute Umeå, North Kingdom and Adopticum

Source: woodbotpilots.com

All images from www.woodbotpilots.com

Art that Reflects the Universe

Here are three pieces featured in last February’s Kinetica Artfair that take inspiration from our very own Universe.  From the movement of atoms within matter to an understanding of space, time, and nothingness, these projects draw from the fibers that make up our worlds and, as a result, are very cool.

András Mengyán,  Polyphonic Visual Space (2011)

“In his current work, Mengyán attempts to find the answers to three questions:  a. ‘How is it possible (if it is possible at all) to comprehend simultaneously, the multifaceted nature and qualitative changes and aspects of a perceived environment?’  b. ‘Is there any means of visually expressing this simultaneous perception?’ and, c. ‘Is our three dimensional awareness adequate to comprehend all of these?’  The weighing up of the possibilities of providing an answer led him to a sort of solution, which in short he refers to as: Polyphonic Visual Space or ‘Simultaneous Spatial-View’.” (Kinetica)

Tom Wilkinson, Green Ray (1999)

“Recognising that all matter and physical objects are made of particles in motion with vast gaps of nothingness between their composite atoms, Wilkinson is interested in the movement of energy and the pattern that are created in the process. The spherical form is of particular interest as Wilkinson considers it to be the purest form in the physical world, the shape all matter, when fluid, gravitates towards.” (Wilkinson)

Martin Bricelj Baraga, Darkstar (2012)

Teaser trailer:

“DarkStar is a developing interactive sculpture for public space that generates an audiovisual interpretation of its direct and indirect surroundings. The installation reacts to the space it is situated in and the people around it but also to the movements of the stars.

Unlike ‘traditional’ monuments, DarkStar does not pay tribute to historic figures (politicians, soldiers, religious leaders, etc). Instead, DarkStar is an organism that pays homage to the city, space and time.

The illuminated part of the monument rotates in a full circle every minute. This means that DarkStar functions as a clock that only counts minutes and so marks the ever faster passage of time. The installation is a huge dome that reflects moon phases. The size of the illuminated section of the moon is transferred into the illuminated part of the Star which reflects the movements of the people within the space.”(Bturn)

Sources: ImageAndrás Mengyán, Tom WilkinsonMartin Bricelj Baraga, Darkstar, Bturn

Nick Cave’s Soundsuits: Textiles in Motion

Nick Cave makes these badass suits for you to dance in, and trust me, you want to be wearing one. See the above video and try telling me you don’t want to do a somersault in one of these!  Check out some stills below.The project was shown off at Art Basel, an international art exhibition.

Source: Thompson Hotel

Inflatable Bag Monsters: Joshua Allen Harris’s Street Art

Image from trendland.net

Whoever thought trash bags could be interactive?  Apparently Joshua Allen was sick of seeing bags blowing in the wind and decided to tie ’em down and give them some purpose.  So he cut them up, tied them together, and now a monster rises up with every gust of sewer wind.  Impeccable!

P.S.-This video is almost four years old–but for those of us who haven’t seen it (read: me, and maybe you), there it is in all its glory.

Interactive Website of the Week: Little Alchemy

Frustrating, humorous, straight forward, and soothing–these are all the qualities of playing Little Alchemy.  It’s a simple game of combining objects to make new objects (à la MineCraft), and so on and so on until you have items like “Cow” and “Ice Cream” from only four elements: water, fire, earth, and air.  Sort of like Legos, except without the rectangular constraints.  There are 240 possible combinations in total, with the option of using cheats and hints. Yes, I’ve been cheating.  The best part? You can save your progress, so you don’t need to start from scratch every time you have a few minutes to kill.

Check out the game here: Little Alchemy

Interactive Website of the Week: Great Gatsby for NES

While this doesn’t serve as a replacement for reading the actual book, I love the idea of making America’s most infamous piece of fiction interactive.  The game rewards people for reading The Great Gatsby as you don’t understand the humor otherwise. Play the game here.

Years by Bartholomäus Traubeck

WANDERLUST

A record player that plays slices of wood. Year ring data is translated into music, 2011. Modified turntable, computer, vvvv, camera, acrylic glass, veneer, approx. 90x50x50 cm.

A tree’s year rings are analyzed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.

Thanks to Land Salzburg, Schmiede, Pro-ject Audio, Karla Spiluttini, Ivo Francx, vvvv, Rohol.

traubeck.com

Thanks to Mark Kuykendall

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