Posted by: Gregoryno6 | March 22, 2014

The Melbourne Expedition: the ACMI Spectacle.

Walking through the Australian Centre for the Moving Image’s Spectacle: The Music Video exhibition, I felt as if I was in a 3d version of Countdown.

This review will be biased without apology. Once I got into the area of the more offbeat material I didn’t roam much.

Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know was featured, and that’s all I’m going to say about it. Great song, great video, but if you haven’t seen the clip and at least six of the covers and/or parodies it spawned you’ve clearly been living at the bottom of a mine. Somebody That Deserves An Exhibition All Its Own – what do you think, ACMI?

Literal videos are a little bit tribute and a little bit parody. Dustin McLean is the acknowledged father of the genre, producing the first literal in 2008 using A-Ha’s Take On Me.

Dustin has produced a number of literals since. You can take your pick of them from his website.

Bands that have been literalised seem not too bothered by it. A-Ha’s keyboard player said that he thought the literal was a lot of fun – and that the literal’s lyrics made a lot more sense than the original set. Record companies, however, were not so amused. They bitched about copyright issues – but the fact is that big business is 99.999% devoid of any sense of humour. It made the record execs uncomfortable that their product wasn’t being taken seriously. Maybe that meant the world wasn’t taking the execs seriously, either…

Unlike A-Ha, Jim Steinman hasn’t spoken publicly about this next literal created by  David A Scott Jr. But we can conjecture. There’s no denying that the original work was remarkably full of its own significance. It really benefited from some clever deflation.

Scott Jr also aimed a dart at one of music’s most sacred cows.  What a stupid coat!

Right at the very end of the exhibition, and signed with plenty of not-for-the-easily-offended-or-the-underaged warnings, was the Spectacle peepshow. The vids here were certainly not the stuff that Mr Meldrum would have spruiked on Countdown. And this is where Mr Aphex Twin Richard D James returns for the third and easily the most memorable time.

I don’t know if this is art. But it packs ten times more nightmare energy into six minutes than most horror movies can deliver in two hours.

In my next post I’ll present a few selections of my own. The People’s Choice Spectacle, you might say.

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