Holly Herndon — “HOME” — 2014
Music by Holly Herndon
Video directed and designed by Metahaven
TransProse reads in the text of a novel and determines densities of eight different emotions (joy, sadness, anger, disgust, anticipation, surprise, trust, and fear) and two different states (positive or negative) throughout the novel. The musical piece chronologically follows the novel (broken up into beginning, early middle, late middle, and end parts, with four measures representing each of these sections). It uses the emotion density data to determine the tempo, key, notes, octaves, etc. for the piece depending on different rules and parameters.
future girl HATSUKA 2 “Garbage problem”
For your consideration.
In the Japan of the future, if you dig in any park whatsoever,
you will not fail to unearth a time capsule.
Love frustrates the simple opposition between economy and noneconomy. Love is precisely – when it is, when it is the act of a singular being, of a body, of a heart, of a thinking – that which brings an end to the dichotomy between the love in which I lose myself without reserve and the love in which I recuperate myself, to the opposition between gift and property.
— Jean-Luc Nancy, Shattered Love (via pulled-up)
Why are there so many love ballads in dystopian films?
William Gibbons, writing about the use of Django Rheinhardt’s “La Mer” in Bioshock, writes of a similar use for the optimism of music from the past: “the piece … creates a mood, conveying a sense of optimism with its spry violin and jazz-inflected guitar chords[.] … This optimism, however, soon reveals itself to be painfully ironic, as the utopian promises made by the song have long since dissipated.”
A similar dynamic is at play with the use of the Ink Spots. Scott Bukatman’s ‘retrofuturism,’ or a fascination with past imaginings of the future, likely has some importance here, and the pairing of their music with the “Corvega” automobile commercial in the Fallout intro and the antiquated record player in The Walking Dead resonate with this. The hopeful love songs of the past sit uncomfortably within the world of nuclear or zombie apocalypse, showing how far society has fallen and how the most important values of the past have lost all meaning. In Blade Runner, the killing of Zora leaves Deckard feeling emotionally hollowed out, and the love and longing expressed in Vangelis’s song creates a contrast that highlights this. It may just be that the hopeful tones of these kinds of songs, with the Ink Spots as a prime example, figure as ironic contrast to the reality the viewer/reader/player is presented with.
I love the suggestion that this trope is connected with retrofuturism. It could be that there is something more to be explored here in terms of affect and temporality à la Heather Love’s Feeling Backwards. Maybe dystopia as a genre registers a type of affect that can best be compared to the foreclosed dreams contained in the popular songs of an earlier time. It’s interesting to think about how dystopias manifest a certain kind of failure to work through, and how we can understand this formally and generically: as Kitsch, as evasion, as (failed) memorialization…?
PERSONA PEEP SHOW is an exorcism playing Bibi Andersson playing Liv Ullman playing Blondie playing Videodrome playing hegemony playing enticing voices playing refusal playing lack playing dumping ground playing throat singing playing artificial deliverance.
A woman with double faces and chattering jaw stages herself in her own afflicted nature. She plunges deep into her ransacked body. She meets her self, vomits up assertions about freedom, chews and spits in order to be resurrected in a beyond-language-sphere of neon and growl.
Martin Brick was a little child who lay in his bed and dreamed.
It was a summer evening
and at dusk, quiet and green, and Martin walked with beside his mother’s hand through a large and peculiar garden, where the shadows were dark in the depths of the walkways. On both sides of the path grew unusual blue and red flowers. They fluttered with the wind back and forth on their narrow stalks. He walked holding his mamma’s hand, looking astonished at the flowers and thinking about nothing. You may only pick the blue flowers, the red ones are poisonous, said his mother. Then he let go of her hand and stopped to pick a flower for her. He wanted to pick a great blue flower that sat nodding heavily on its stalk. Such a peculiar flower! He looked at it and inhaled its scent. Then he looked at it again with wide, astonished eyes: it wasn’t blue at all, it was red! It was altogether red! And so hideously, poisonously red! He threw the cruel flower on the ground and stomped on it as on a dangerous animal. But when he turned around his mother was gone. Mamma, he cried, where are you? Where are you, why are you hiding from me? Martin ran a bit down the walkway but saw no one, and came near to tears. The walkway was quiet and empty, and it grew darker and darker. Finally he heard a voice quite close: Here I am, Martin, don’t you see me? But Marin saw nothing. I’m right here, why don’t you come to me? Now Martin understood: behind the elder shrub, it was there the voice came from. That he hadn’t understood it immediately… And he ran there looking to look; he was sure his mother was hiding there. But behind the elder shrub was Frans from Long Row making a nasty grimace with his fat, ulcerous lips, sticking out his tongue as far as he could! And such a tongue he had: it got longer and longer; in fact, it never ended, and it was covered with yellow-green bruises.
Frans was a little ruffian who lived in “Long Row” diagonally across the street. Last Sunday he had spat on Martin’s new jacket and called him a snob.
Martin wanted to run away but stood as if nailed to the earth. He felt how his legs grew numb beneath him. The garden and flowers and trees were gone, and he stood back home with Frans alone in a dark corner of the yard, by the ashbin, and he tried to scream, but it felt as though his throat was all laced up…
From Hjalmar Söderberg, The Youth of Martin Brick / Martin Bricks ungdom (1901)