Friday, June 20, 2014

OK Go's Artistic Music

For some years now, the band OK Go has been creating music videos that feature unique visual artistry, usually involving long single takes and complicated setups. 

This latest one, called "The Writing's On the Wall," takes the camera through a warehouse full of optical illusions that materialize and dematerialize as the camera moves position. (Link to video).

But that's not all that they've done to combine art and music. 

Their crowd-funding campaign through "Pledge Music" has some fun ideas, including (for $250) a caricature drawn by band member Dan from a photo that the pledger supplies.

Or, for $175, "the band will personally hand decorate a pair of Converse Jack Purcells for you."

The band will be partnering with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles to unveil their new album. According to Love is Pop,  "OK Go is at the forefront of an emerging class of independent creative entrepreneurs making art across numerous disciplines, hop scotching over the boundaries of content classifications in order to best realize the vision at hand. Or, in the words of Kulash: “We’re working to create a 21st century company that just makes cool s**t.” 
If you haven't seen it, also check out OK Go's "Rube Goldberg" music video.
AND, speaking of new fan-oriented business models of music, check out yesterday's piece on NPR about my son Dan Gurney's web-streaming music platform Concert Window.


Allen Garns said...

This is great I've had to watch it multiple times to see everything that's happening. Thanks for posting it.

Dan said...

This video and your son's venture "Concert Window" have something important in common: They are both about providing a greater context or "grounding" of an online digital art work in the surrounding realities of the artists and their communities.

Performance art tends to straddle the line between an exhibition and an event or experience, and the context is an integral part of the art. For example, years ago in Minneapolis I attended part of a 24-hour-long dance program in the Sculpture Gardens at the Walker Art Center. The fact that it was a 24-hour long choreographed program was a very important part of the experience. No part of the program would have been as significant without knowledge of that context.

In "OK Go" videos, the context of how the video was made is an important part of the experience. It would lose much of its significance without the "all in one shot" aspect. Most people I know who delight in these videos (including myself) get much enjoyment from the fact that each represents a virtuosic display of ingenuity and wit, along with the energy and playfulness.

The appeal of "Concert Window" is similar, in that it's not just another online video; it's a live performance. That piece of contextual information makes all the difference. There is also this participatory aspect, this sense of community created by the fact that not only can you interact with the artist via text messaging, you can send money in real time. So it becomes an event in which the online community turns out in support of an artist giving a live performance.

There's undeniably this desire among many artists and patrons of the arts to "keep it real," even while attempting to embrace technological changes.


P.S. IMHO, music is better when there are no microphones involved. :)

Marta said...

Amazing! I first fell in love with their style for End Love - so happy to see this up here.