The prototypical music video shows a band, giving a pseudo live performance in some kind of non-environment. For almost all of us, this will represent the most boring approach to the genre. But apart from the stereotypical glossy productions with the standard, and usually sexually connotated props and sets, there are also music videos that use this ‘performative’ approach to create something special, something that stands out. All of a sudden a simple setting, a beach, a car or the stage is sufficient and something else is conveyed, something inspired: attitudes, atmospheric density, sensitivity, desire. To capture this is the achievement of the director and in its apparent simplicity this is more difficult than it seems. If it works, it is perfect.
An interesting aspect of the ‘performative’ video clip is the amount of ‘identification’ options. They are more complex and varied than one might think. Viewers can float freely between the musician (musical skills), the actor (the musician plays himself or a character), the star ‘in private’ (think of all the TV shows about the private lives of celebrities) and the Alter Ego (popstardom) in their search for an object to admire or to identify with. In electronic music the classical lead singer is often absent. This shortcoming turns into something positive when creative and ironic substitutes are found, for instance when a dancing robot out-performes John Travolta. ‘Inner World/Create Yourself’ presents a selection of performative music videos from the sixties to the present.
Knowing Me Knowing You (ABBA)
Lasse Hallström, Sweden, 1976, 4:00 min.
I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (The White Stripes),
Sofia Coppola, USA, 2003, 3:00 min.
Born Slippy – Version 2 (Underworld)
Dirk van Dooren, UK, 2004, 4:00 min.
Since I Left You (The Avalanches)
Rob Leggatt & Leight Marlin, 2001
Number One (Playgroup)
H5, France, 2002, 3:30 min.
Love Will Tear Us Apart Again (Joy Division)
Stuart Orme, UK, 1982, 4:00 min.
James & Alex, USA, 2001, 4:00 min.
The City (Jamie Lidell)
Frédéric D, France, 2004, 5:00 min.
Held Down (De la Soul)
Deborah Schamoni, Germany, 2003, 5:00 min.
She’s a Bitch (Missy Elliot)
Hype Williams, USA, 1997, 4:30 min.
Linda Heymann, UK, 2003, 4:00 min.
bigtv, Great Britain, 2000, 4:00 min.
We Don’t Play Guitars (Chicks on Speed)
Deborah Schamoni, Germany, 2003
Heroes (David Bowie)
Mr. Dorfman, USA, 1977, 3:30 min.
Subterranian Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan)
D.A. Pennebaker, USA, 1965
Jessica Manstetten― Curator
Jessica Manstetten is Film and Media scientist and she works for the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in the Music Video Section and for the Duisburger Filmwoche. She is translator, freelance and curator for, among others, Femme Totale, Dortmund; Traumzeit, Duisburg and the International Videofestival Bochum and she writes from time to time.