Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil.
"They've finally figured out how to get people to watch commercials for 24 hours a day."
--Robyn Hitchcock, regarding MTV in SPIN magazine, 1985
In 1984 Brian Eno released the video Thursday Afternoon. The slooooooooow editing of the piece was a reaction to the growing trend of quick cuts brought to us courtesy of the nascent MTV network. It was difficult not to think of the work when I went to see Malcolm McLaren's Shallow, the inaugural film for Creative Time's new video series in Times Square, 44 1/2.
When MTV moved their studios to Times Square in 1997 they added more action and flash to an already frenetic environment. So here, in the heart of darkness and light McLaren resists the flash by slowing things down. It's not always the speed though. With a nod to the area's history the images have a vaguely filthy B-movie feel to them. The grainy textures of the film stand in stark contrast to the speed of lights. Righteous.
Note that you can download the McLaren's soundtrack on the project site. The music is like an updated version of Duck Rock reimagined by the late Esquivel. It skims along the surface like the images that it was made to accompany, like the hordes moving past it. No depth.
And one last thing. I just gotta say . . . HELL YEAH! Creative Time is back in Times Square.