Music Videos as Art Forms

If you happen to be into music videos as much as I am, you have probably already visited the current ACMI exhibition in Melbourne titled ‘Spectacle’, which does an amazing job of capturing a ‘This Is Your Life’ moment for music videos.

Music videos as art forms blog post by Yoke

I wasn’t quite sure how ACMI were going to exhibit over 300 music videos in such a large public space, but with a mixture of enormous screens, sectioned off areas and the help of some headphones, the overall experience became a personal journey which reminded me of forgotten favoured tunes and videos that left me feeling a mixture of nostalgia and inspiration from beginning to end.

The exhibition begins as a journey through music video history at first, but when you find yourself immersed in interactive installations and surrounded by original props and costumes from well-known global videos, you soon realise you are surrounded by works of art and not just a room with a few televisions to watch.

The amount of artistic thought put into some of the videos got me thinking about how much the music industry has been shaped trying to reach that perfect harmony between vision and sound and how I feel about a song before and after I see the video which accompanies it.

We have all seen those videos that are brimming with political and seductive messages, as well as those that are short films, which is then followed by sequels. All of which are great ways for bands and filmmakers to get recognised, especially if either is not yet a well known artist. Gone are the days where you use to get up early on a Saturday morning to catch the latest and greatest music videos on Rage. Now we have such a large collection of music videos at our fingertips that it is not only what the individual opinion of a song is, but more so ‘did-you-see-that-filmclip-the-other -day-oh-my-god-its-amazing-I-cant-believe-you-haven’t-seen-it” attitude towards it.

So in saying that, here are a few online video examples that I thought are worth sharing and worth watching, the first 2 being the brainchild of Chris Milk.

Johnny Cash – Ain’t No Grave


A tribute to Johnny Cash, this video invites participants from around the globe to create one illustration each that is then stitched together with other portraits and memorialises his last ever recording. So far 250,000 people from 170 countries are involved, each creating a frame that blends into the next. As a massive fan of Johnny Cash I thought this was a perfect way for all of his fans to leave a tribute to one legendary musician.

Arcade Fire – We Use to Wait


This is a refreshingly different music video to experience. To start the video you need to enter in your childhood home postcode and as the song starts playing, a rush of images will start to open on your desktop showing a journey back to this place. It can be a powerful emotional rollercoaster ride tugging at your nostalgic strings, best heard whilst listening to the song loud through headphones. You will definitely need a good Internet connection and it only works best on Chrome, totally worth the journey though.

Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone


A golden oldie jazzed up with a new music video, what’s not to like! Set up as a television channel, you have the ability to flip between 16 channels and watch different people act out their normal show whilst lip-syncing the lyrics. Most channels are quite recognisable which makes it even more interesting and fun to watch.

Cibo Matto – Sugar Water


I am going to leave you with one last video which is not online or interactive, but I love what Michael Gondry has done. The video focuses on two lives linked together in a parallel way, playing with time and space. Experience a day with time in reverse, and that pretty much sums up this video. Enjoy!

Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition, ACMI Melbourne

Thursday 26 September 2013 – Sunday 23 February 2014