Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Redundancy and Entropy

The above video, Windowlicker by Aphex Twin at first seems to illustrate a redundant view of a hip hop video, with two black males cruising the streets of an American town at night, looking for girls, using excessive slang and obscenities. This initial redundant view has a hint of irony, and the excessive swearing and over the top hairstyles give a subtle tone of exaggeration. The video develops into an entropic scene where the 'gangsta' car is pushed forward away from the girls by an enormous limousine, that is comically long. The door opens to reveal an exceptionally sinister looking white male, which is an entropic view in the context of what at first seemed to be a hip hop style video, and is completely out of place in the audience's initial expectations of the video. The man then leaps out of the limo and begins to dance wildly, whilst the 'hip hop' men watch on from their car in shock, and the two girls look on in awe. The use of a dance routine in a video is highly redundant, but this style of dancing involves strange ballet and seems almost like a dance routine from an old black and white musical film, which is an entropic idea in the context of an urbanised hip hop video. The two women who are watching, suddenly reveal their faces have become exactly like the sinister man who is dancing, which is very unexpected and a highly entropic feature, and the man and the two women get into the car and start driving whilst writhing together in the back seat- in a mildly disturbing scene! The redundant view of gangsters partying in the back of a limo is reversed into an entropic view, by turning all the characters into sinister caricatures of the main white male. The video ends in a typically redundant view of a hip hop dance routine, set on a beach with palm trees and dancing girls surrounding the male in bikini's. The two black males from the first scene have followed the limo, and watch on in excitement. But soon realise that the girls they first viewed as sexy, now have hideous faces. The idea of turning scantily clad sexy women into a disturbing image is highly entropic, and in juxtaposition to the glamorous setting of a hip hop video that began with a redundant view, is now turned into an ironic and entropic take on modern music videos.

The above video, Mr Ambulance Driver by the band The Flaming Lips, has an entropic introduction from a young male talking about an accident he was in, but then develops into a redundant view of the full band singing the song into the camera, with a typical mise en scene for a rock/alternative group, set in a dark, warehouse with spotlights and the band in a stereotypically redundant set up. The shots of the band are intercepted by shots of the young male featured at the start doing a dance routine, this is a typically redundant feature of music videos, but has an entropic slant as we have heard the details of his accident throughout the video and the camera focuses heavily on his crippled arm, which is a fresh outlook for models featured in videos. An ordinary, casually clothed man, with a disability. In contrast to the usual, good looking, polished and glamorous dancers usually used in music videos.

The above video by Spiritualized, from the song 'Soul on Fire' begins with the lead singer lying flat on an iced over lake in a close up. This is an entropic intial shot, but the lyrics are mimed in a redundant way as typical in most music video's. We see quick flashes of shots that match up to his position on the ice of the same man in a hospital bed- this is an entropic view, because as an audience we begin to realise things may not be as we first percieved. The video continues with the man miming along to the song, whilst lying flat on the ice, in a static shot staring straight into the camera in a close up. This is a redundant view, in the way that it is a very simple and unsuprising shot type, but also entropic as it is rarely used in music video's today in comparison to the usual fast paced editing and rapid shot types of pop and rock video's. As the music video develops, shots of the arctic scenery appear inbetween the miming, as well as stills of hospital related equipment like bottles and syringes. We then see an identical shot of the man laying down, but back in the hospital, and as the audience we realise he is either hallucinating in hospital about being in the Arctic or vice versa. This is an entropic view as although it was hinted at earlier on in the video, it is a contrast to the beginning and an unstereotypical take on a music video, as well as surprising to the audience. We see the man sit up (in both the arctic and hospital settings) and take in his surroundings as the music builds, and shots of the Northern Lights are cut in. At the end of the video, we see him lay back down into his original position, flat on the ice, as the music fades out. As the connotations of the video link to a medical and psycological theme, as well as subtle hints to the use of a drug or heroin overdose- a well known problem of the lead singer, and also revealed by the title of the album 'Songs in A and E' mainly written while the singer was in rehab- the ending where he almost falls hard against the ice and back to his original position, perhaps reveals that he has not overcome his problem, and is back where he started in an almost hallucinagenic heaven that is far away from the reality of his hospital bed. This is an entropic view in comparison to the happy, bouncy, and feel good pop videos, as it is a harsh reality that contrasts with the uplifting melody of the song.