When video art meets the music video

Increasingly, the music video format offers a platform to video artists whose work is usually played on loops in sparsely populated gallery spaces. Beyond those white walls is a YouTube-driven visual culture where songs serve as housing for far-fetched world-building. Recently, the artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa collaborated with Kanye West for his song ‘Wash Us In the Blood’, a commentary on police murder of black people. The video splices together found and filmed footage and animation to create a visual collage, adapting the methodology used in Jafa’s well-known film Love is the Message, The Message is Death from 2016 (which he set to Kanye’s gospel-inspired track ‘Ultralight Beam’, creating in effect an unofficial music video). And last year, for musician Solange’s visual album When I Get Home, multimedia artist Jacolby Satterwhite used 3D animation – partly inspired by drawings his mother made during schizophrenic episodes – to create a black Southern take on the Panathenaic Stadium, hovering over Houston’s Third Ward. Solange herself directed and choreographed plenty of the visual sequences in the 41-minute film, and has, over the last several years, developed her own visual art practice around and within her music.
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by Cassie da Costa



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