At DEAF_00 symposium Friday Nov. 17 and in book DEAF_00 Machine
VISIONS OF RHYTHM IN THE KINEMATIC PNEUMACOSM
OF HYPE WILLIAMS
Today, the music video, as the digital theorist Lev Manovich
argues, functions as "a laboratory for exploring the new
digital cinema. New slownesses, new speeds, new fermatas, new
polyrhythms, new dynamic events emerge from the elastic reality and
softimages of broadcast entertainment culture.
Back in 1979, the Parliament-Funkadelic producer George Clinton
audio, vision and movement, the components of entertainment
together into a single sleek equation – "the rhythm of vision is a
This proposition allows us to analyze the post-1994 music video as
digital convergence of these intensities.
More precisely, we can hear and see how the processes of
and editing, effect processing and digital music fuse in the modern
and R&B video to become a new "animatography" – film
Argento's 1971 term for a future cinema of animated photography.
The music video is to the musical as the break is to the funk track:
concentrated essence of the digital image. It's all effect, nothing but
efx double plus. A slice of time that enthralls and appalls in
succession. Nothing dates faster than the music video – and this is
value – to time-code the present as cultural fantasy.
We know that all digital music is out of date because today's music is
made from samples constructed on the spot, partly from samples
from their dates, effects separated from their causes, sound-events
from phonographic pasts which they drag along nonetheless. Times
sliced from their calendars, scrambling the inherited calendar of
history, anachronizing traditions, rearranging legacies.
Since 1994, the video director Hype Williams has drastically reinvented
look of hip hop and R&B. In grandiose presidential epics (Puff
"Victory"), Messiah identifying playa fantasies (Nas'
"Hate Me Now"),
Buddhamorphic Mariko Moriesque homages (TLC's "Unpretty"),
R&B grrrl rage (Kelis' "Caught Out There") and lascivious
uptown hymns to
booty (Q-Tip's "Vivrant Thing"), Williams breaks decisively
territorial allegiance to the street.