28 January 2013

Implanted Memories

Bumped into this recently -- "Memorex," by some Brooklyn "music video" outfit calling itself Smash TV.

In which the the Dan Lopatin/Oneohtrix Point Never/Sunsetcorp hauntological "eccojam" modus of a few years ago gets reduced to a mere mannered style or aesthetic unto itself. A sort of design-minded, winkingly-ironic megamontage, amounting to extended celebration of the technology of the 1980s; of bygone entertainment and its obsolete delivery systems, its means of presentation. (A parade of empty signifiers. What would the Spectacle be, after all, without all those logos and animated graphics?) Without the skrewd'd, glitchy, hypnagogic quality -- mostly scrubbed of "noise," whenever possible. Quasi-nostalgia hinging on nothing more than novelty and quaintness, sans any supposed socio-cultural ambivalence or melancholy. Not that that sort of thing wasn't inevitable, I suppose; but there you have it.

Big teased hair and padded shoulders? Check. White people trying to breakdance? Check. Mel Gibson running? Check. Ronald McDonald seems to be the main recurring motif, throughout. I suppose if I'd stuck around long enough, the California Raisins would've put in an appearance, but I didn't.

File under: retro-kitsch.

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Belated afterthought/footnote: I reckon the incessant appearance of McDonalds (& etcetera) in the above could be considered unintentionally ironic, especially considering the decade in question. The year of 1980 saw a comprehensive legal relaxation of restrictions on television advertising to children in the U.S.. Naturally, a boom in advertising to children followed, with marketing firms devoting larger resources to researching and developing strategies for target-marketing to younger and younger viewers. So in a way, I guess the above could've just as easily (and perhaps more accurately) been titled "The Making of a Consumer."

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