From the golden age of television, when some music videos were as eagerly awaited as the songs they promoted, to present-day YouTube playlists, the art of the music video is the subject of a festival at the MIS that begins December 2012.
Featuring clips that include the ground-breaking illustrated video for A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’ (1985) and contemporary masterpieces like Björk’s ‘Wanderlust’, as well as classics created for artists like Michael Jackson and Madonna, the exhibition, ‘Spectacle: The Music Video’, comprises 350 videos, plus photos and installations covering the history of the art form.
‘It’s impossible to identify the first ever music video,’ says Jonathan Wells, co-curator of the festival alongside Meg Grey Wells, both of Los Angeles’s Flux studio, ‘but we’re showing some of the pioneers – short films from the 1930s and ’40s and Scopitones’ – videos created for an ahead-of-its-time 1950s audio-visual jukebox.
A selection of Brazilian videos includes a 1975 clip for the song ‘América do Sul’, by Ney Matogrosso, and as well as the main exhibition, there are also film screenings and debates, one of the latter featuring Jerry Casale, formerly of the band Devo (20 Jan).
Casale went on to direct videos for bands like Seattle’s Foo Fighters (‘I’ll Stick Around’). Another Seattle band, Mudhoney, is the subject of the film I’m Now (7pm, 20 December 2012), which tells the story of the grunge band, and is one of a handful of music-themed films that are also part of the festival.