Spotlight: The Art of Found Footage

The found footage phenomenon makes sense. Sure, first generation music videos (label budgeted, with hired directors, etc) still run the “industry”, but just like a kid in their bedroom can rise to blog fame overnight, so can an unknown video sporting re-purposed visuals. And while there’s no shortage of blurry, retro-ed out blog filler sprouting up every day (note a direct connection between archival footage and the chillwave/lo-fi aesthetic), there’s also a growing number of talented collage artists making a name for themselves and in effect, the music they take on. It’s not uncommon for these videos to get picked up by major sources, and actually get approved as “official” clips for a song. Above anything though, this trend seems to be founded in look and feel—art, more so than promotion. Below are a few highlights:

[BoxTitle]Purity Ring “Lofticries”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos][/MusicVideos]

A “meditative future-ballad”, and second hit in the three-for-three streak Purity Ring is on, “Lofticries” got a killer fan-made treatment within a week of its release. Another perfect storm, much like previous Bruce Connor-lifting clip for “Ungirthed“, this one swept newsfeeds everywhere, and further built up the duo’s dark, poisonous pop brand, using revenge-filled scenes from a 1974 Swedish grindhouse film called Thriller: A Cruel Picture. See more of the director’s work at vimeo.

[BoxTitle]Julianna Barwick “The Magic Place”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos][/MusicVideos]

Only Julianna Barwick really knows where/what the actual Magic Place really is, but if her “official” adoption of this fan-created clip is any indication, the surreal, transcendental framing chosen here (taken from 1983 education ‘oneness’ video “Celebration: I Am All of These“) came amazingly close to capturing it.

[BoxTitle]Holiday Shores “Threepeat Got Old”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos][/MusicVideos]

1980s and 90s NBA basketball is instant gold it seems, which makes Air Jordan a modern day video vixen. That probably has something to do with blogworld’s general demographic—we grew up with this stuff. Now on the jangly upper-jam “Threepeat Got Old”, Holiday Shores celebrate the biggest winners, and then kind of weirdly fixate on their ultimate moments of joy. I often start my days with this…a breakfast of champions, if you will.

[BoxTitle]Lana Del Rey “Video Games”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos][/MusicVideos]

This “hollywood sad core” montage was cut by Lana Del Rey herself, and just might be the most transfixing mix of collected imagery to ever cross a tragic song in the “found” era. With six figure youtube views, and a dozen high-profile features on Lana coming out lately, it looks as if she’s crossed over to a very big market, and we’ll see if that places her face on some larger, less-DIY productions.

[BoxTitle]Keep Shelly In Athens “Running Out of You”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos][/MusicVideos]

The eerie shades of Grecian duo Keep Shelly In Athens met Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1986 film Offret and the result was a downright evil blaze. Another vimeo all-star, Wooden Lens, has also produced visions for Beach Fossils, Young Man, and Blouse (among others).

[BoxTitle]Lonely Galaxy “Time”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos][/MusicVideos]

It’s impossible to pick just one video by Jamie Harley—the best collage artist around, he has a magical way with timing, perception and emotion. While “Time” isn’t Harley’s most impressive effect-work (see: his various slow-mo How To Dress Well numbers or Prizes’ “Canada“, a warped honeymoon with Pam and Tommy), it’s perhaps his most affecting piece—a sincere tug at the heart, accomplishing this very real and overwhelming sense of time lost, all seen through random home movies ripped from Youtube.

Okay, here’s a few more Harley clips: the David Copperfield sampling scene for Clams Casino, and a pink pageant for ANR which borrowed from 1975 comedy Smile.

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