Monthly Archives: December 2017

Video Close-up: Aesthetic Evolution

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Starter question for 10 points: What compels otherwise normal, sensible, breathing human beings to create the music videos discussed and evaluated by Team TikiKiti?

A recent podcast from the British Society of Aesthetics, featuring philosophy professor Stephen Davies from the University of Auckland, tackled the subject of Art and Evolution at some length and brought up a number of salient points.

Davies posits that art survived during times when it was counter-productive to devote energy to activity not directly benefitting the group (hunting, gathering, defense), because it demonstrated a trait that could be used to attract a mate and spawn “better” children.

In Rosie Passau’s unofficial music video for “1955” by Hilltop Hoods, the artist plays the violin, dances, rides a bike, and drives a Volkswagen, but these interesting traits are secondary to her unquestionable verve and beauty.

This performance video is dexterously edited and demonstrates a crystal clear understanding of the art form as an advertisement for one’s self. If this were a resume, it speaks volumes about its creator — and really nothing else. There are no other people to be found, the star is born.

Another theory that’s raised by Davies, is that art became an integral part of early group dynamics because it created a record of community beliefs and strengthened its standing. This is certainly true in regards to Egyptian and Greek culture, as ceremonial tributes to gods became more elaborate and ceremonial.

Italian dance troupe Black Summer uses choreography and narrative elements in ritualistic fashion to banish the spirit of an evil ex-boyfriend in an inspired cover of Girl Generation’s “Paparazzi.”

With alternating scenes of the lead dancer miming in a playground and a cemetery, the meaning is obvious that the ladies are serious about having fun, and that no man is sexy enough to destroy their solidarity.

Also notice the cell phones as fetish devises, a vital part of any ceremony to drive away dark forces. A powerful spell is cast and a bond is forged.

Finally, Davies argues that there may be no actual evolutionary benefit to art, that it’s simply a byproduct of prosperous times, since it allows group members to focus on deeds and stories that are relevant to the community.

In both Piñaingrata’s moody take on Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and Hookshot Miguel’s interpretation of Talking Heads’ “Slippery People,” the artists attempt to share ineffable feelings of isolation, ennui, purpose, and spiritual fatigue, cut to a couple catchy classics.

While these are projections from the hearts of their creators, the images depicted are inclusive and relatable to everyone because they share personal vulnerability – an empowering and cathartic act.

We’re in search of the “art” in “cathartic.” It should benefit the group in the long run, even if we’re not blessed with “better” children. At least they’ll know how to edit video.