PRINT March 2009

Barbara London

MINIMAL MUSIC GAVE US MAXIMAL VIDEO. The frenetic pace of early MTV might seem removed from the extended duration of phasing or ambient drones, but sensory assault and perceptual slowness are far more closely intertwined than we might think. Indeed, the short form of the music video seems to contain within it both pop decadence and avant-garde asceticism. Now that the music video has in many ways become the signature form of all media—migrating away from MTV toward YouTube and scaled down to iPhones—it is worth considering the genre’s relationship to experimental, interdisciplinary activities of the 1960s and ’70s.

A dense yet twisted braid of connections ties video to music during this period. Such a composite history is all too often treated as a series of separate strands: Video, for example, has been considered largely in the province of the visual—whether as a continuation

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