tom moody

to video or not

Disquiet posted some videos from the performance event at Apex Art I participated in last November. ("Speculative Sound Performance with Disquiet Junto," in conjunction with the exhibition "As Real As It Gets," organized by Rob Walker.) I was excited to be involved but didn't think my tunes needed video documentation. As I explained on Disquiet, in the comments:

Not that anyone’s asking but I requested that Apex take down my video because it didn’t really add anything. My songs were performed on the Octatrack groovebox exactly as you hear them on my website. Hearing them in person gave the added “oomph” of a quality PA system but I could just as easily have been sitting in a chair in the audience pressing the “play” button. The video took the music straight off the soundboard so the only thing you were getting in that documentation was a permanent image of how I looked from a certain camera angle while the music was playing. Boring! It was great (and encouraging) for me to hear the tunes in a room with actual listeners, in a program of music by others whose contributions I enjoyed. But going through the motions of traditional performance makes me uncomfortable and I wonder if other ambient and electronic musicians have thoughts on how we should present ourselves physically, or whether it’s necessary at all, as part of the process of re-inventing music.

No one answered so this would appear to be my issue alone. Although not too long ago there were these groups Drexciya and Underground Resistance that de-personalized their music and didn't participate in the traditional star-making commodity structures of publicity photos and performance videos showing the musicians' faces furiously concentrating as genius welled up from their fingertips. In the YouTube era we are all conditioned to act out so we can be the next Justin Bieber and eventually be infinitely documented throwing up onstage.

- tom moody

January 16th, 2013 at 9:51 am

Posted in general