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[Nettime-nl] Kodwo Eshun on HYPE WILLIAMS
*Alex Adriaansens* on 12 Nov 2000 16:55:16 -0000


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[Nettime-nl] Kodwo Eshun on HYPE WILLIAMS


At DEAF_00 symposium Friday Nov. 17 and in book DEAF_00 Machine Times.
see: www.v2.nl/deaf/


Kodwo Eshun
VISIONS OF RHYTHM IN THE KINEMATIC PNEUMACOSM
OF HYPE WILLIAMS

Today, the music video, as the digital theorist Lev Manovich persuasively
argues, functions as "a laboratory for exploring the new possibilities" of
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 linked
audio, vision and movement, the components of entertainment culture,
together into a single sleek equation "the rhythm of vision is a dancer."
This proposition allows us to analyze the post-1994 music video as the
digital convergence of these intensities.

More precisely, we can hear and see how the processes of choreography
and editing, effect processing and digital music fuse in the modern hip-hop
and R&B video to become a new "animatography" film director Dario
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: the
concentrated essence of the digital image. It's all effect, nothing but special
efx double plus. A slice of time that enthralls and appalls in rapid
succession. Nothing dates faster than the music video and this is its
value to time-code the present as cultural fantasy.

We know that all digital music is out of date because today's music is partly
made from samples constructed on the spot, partly from samples snatched
from their dates, effects separated from their causes, sound-events looped
from phonographic pasts which they drag along nonetheless. Times are
sliced from their calendars, scrambling the inherited calendar of musical
history, anachronizing traditions, rearranging legacies.

Since 1994, the video director Hype Williams has drastically reinvented the
look of hip hop and R&B. In grandiose presidential epics (Puff Daddy's
"Victory"), Messiah identifying playa fantasies (Nas' "Hate Me Now"),
Buddhamorphic Mariko Moriesque homages (TLC's "Unpretty"), seething
R&B grrrl rage (Kelis' "Caught Out There") and lascivious uptown hymns to
booty (Q-Tip's "Vivrant Thing"), Williams breaks decisively with hip-hop's
territorial allegiance to the street.