“It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.” - Jean-Luc Godard
Watch this music video from Charlotte Gainsborugh and Beck, it’s directed by Keith Schofield. When I first saw it I was blown away! The video consist of a series of images, every single one telling a unique surreal story. The images are not connected in any way, I was trying to make sense of it, but you really cannot find a connecting concept…because their is none.
When I tried to find out more about the video I got to know that the director works in a similar way I do: He has a folder on his computer where he collects inspirational images from image databases like FFFOUND and other resources. He uses this folder as inspiration and reference when he writes a musicvideo treatment (as I exactly do it myself). So one day he came up with the concept of doing a metavideo about all these amazing pictures in his folder.
“the best music video in the world would be one where it was just a series of incredible, surreal scenes. Each scene would be vastly different, and we would never repeat the same scene.”
In my eyes the video is a meta-commentary on the net as an archive of cultural memory. In the tradition of found footage lots of cultural artifacts pass your way on the net, their origins either unknown or deeply hidden in remixs and remakes. The reapropiration of those visual entities into new contexts is what makes the net a place of a lively discourse, the users now being as literate with image and video as only text was used back in the days.
Interestingly, the director Keith Schofield is insulted to steal ideas from the pictures he used as reference points for his work. You can read the discussion at Antville, it’s very intersting to see such contrary positions on the question of artistic originality. I think is both ridiculous to claim that there’s no artistic originality in Schofields works as it is to claim the existence of artisitc originality at all. Schofield’s video clearly is a piece of concept art, (which is moreover executed stunningly beautiful in terms of props, lighting etc.), the concept itself being the new idea, not the single picture in it. Furthermore you should watch Schofield closely, he publishes all the treatments of his music videos on his website, what proofes that he has nothing to hide, what definately is not common in this industry where good ideas are a hard currency.
But the interesting question here is the one for artistic originality in general. Can any artist today create an unique piece, never seen before? Can a filmmaker create a love scene, without quoting thousands of love scenes he has in his mind? When I develop ideas, images come from my memory, I can’t locate if I they come solely from my imagination or from a movie or a picture or a story or a dream or my FFFFound folder… Who can? The web is the total archive, supplying the artist with the visual history of human mankind - don’t you think this changes the perspective?
If you’d like to dive deeper into the affair between artist, idea & appropriation in the commerical world see this presentation:
One more personal question remains: Why do I feel so emotionally attracted to a fragmented series of images wihtout any connecting sense?