Senior Seminar Research – Musicians and Branding

I am really excited about my research topic for my senior seminar class. It’s a chance to integrate ideas and research something that really interests me. I’ve decided that I want to study engagement rates for musicians using social media and how they brand themselves along these channels.

I’m looking to find whether or not more human and genuine responses and posts will receive (or have any affect on) engagement compared to carefully formulated responses; and if it’s possible to tell who is actually writing the updates – the musician or outside entity. My main goal is to see if these musicians have an easier time engaging, because they are indeed human, compared to brands who need to have a voice developed; and if a “best practices” can be developed using their example.

I’m hoping it’ll go really well and I can’t wait to see the outcome!

Posted in Advertising, Music, Projects | Leave a comment

Musicians: The Ultimate Experiential and Social Advertisers

One of my favorite things in the world to talk about is music, and how these artists are able to stay relevant in an ever-changing environment. For musicians, staying relevant is so much harder than people think. In case you haven’t heard, there are theories being thrown around that the days of produced music (as in paid-for music) is rapidly approaching. In my opinion, music will never be “dead” because adaption and dedication run deep within this community -two qualities that are a necessity when talking about success.  You may not see where I’m headed yet, but you will.

The relationship between a fan and a musician (and their music) is much like the relationship that brands have with their fans on social media sites (in fact, a musician’s name is their brand if you think about it). In order for brands to stay relevant, they need to be able to readily adapt to the fast-paced environment and keep their fans’ attention. Brands and musicians have fans (Facebook official or not) and social media is now an important part in how all brands inform and engage their fans. Brands use it to announce new product releases, events, contests, etc. and bands do all of the exact same things, but it seems that they are able to communicate on a more personal level. The band members (in most cases) answer fans’ questions on Facebook or Twitter and respond to their comments themselves. It’s so personal, and fans love it. When a person’s favorite band follows them back on Twitter, they feel like a celebrity and the love for them is doubled instantly.  In terms of fan engagement, there’s slightly more buy-in with personal, thoughtful responses and it helps build brand loyalty.

On the topic of music and relevance, I’ve been to more concerts than I can remember and the antics and experiences that happen live are unrivaled compared to just listening to an album or the radio. I believe that going to these concerts is what makes buying the music worth it. You buy the album, listen to it repeatedly and then pay for tickets to a show. Why? Going to a live show gives the album more meaning, and it gives concertgoers an opportunity to connect an experience to the music and to the artist. Musicians I have seen live (and liked) have earned my devotion and continued monetary support, unlike those who I’ve just listed to an album or two and have never actually seen. It builds a sort of brand loyalty and it’s an ingenious process if you think about it.

This post basically stemmed from a Mashable article about Kenny Chesney and Kelly Clarkson and their relationship with fans on Twitter. Kenny (well, his manager actually) searched Twitter during one of his concerts to figure out whether the fans deserved an encore (i.e., posting pictures/positive comments during the performance). These fans were watching the show from the concert locations and also online (either in real-time or after the fact) and social media gave them an idea about how invested his fans were in the experience. On a side note, encores are interesting. They’re supposed to be unexpected, like a secret, to surprise fans and give those that stay until the end a reward for being loyal. That’s not the case anymore. Encores have become a requirement and EVERYONE knows it’s coming, so they stay. It’s now harder to distinguish the dedicated and engaged fans from the random people who thought it would be a good time.

Kelly had a different approach, and one that I am a huge fan of. Fans tweeted their favorite song requests that they wanted her to cover during her set. During the show, Kelly announced the Twitter username and their choice of song and performed it for the audience. I think this is awesome, because the cover song addtions to the set list are honestly my favorite part. Having a say (with it still being a secret) makes the experience worth the extra wait.

Staying relevant in a social media world is tough for everyone. Engagement is what each brand is after and it isn’t the easiest to maintain. Fans need to be reminded constantly that the brand cares that they are a fan. Everyone wants to feel special or important and that’s the one aspect that I believe bands have over big brands. They’re naturally more conversational because they are selling themselves and that experience. Bands are the ultimate experiential advertisers.

In case you’re interested, here are a few of my favorite cover songs during shows that I have been to. There’s a little bit of variety for everybody:

  • Daughtry performing Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell 
  • Safetysuit performing Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah 
  • Three Days Grace performing their song Home mixed with Eminem’s Lose Yourself 

If you’re interested in the article, or to hear Kelly Clarkson covering Radiohead’s Creep: Mashable

Posted in Advertising, Music, Thoughts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Artist Statement – “What if Facebook Disappeared?”

In class I have been reading about artists who use surveillance as a way to gather information or to examine human behavior. For my final piece, “What if Facebook Disappeared,” I wanted to take a modern twist on surveillance. I took a critical look at how people communicate and how often. I spent one whole day on Facebook observing conversations that my friends were having through their statuses and comments to one another. I found that people communicated too much and too often and that the conversations were trivial at best- not to mention slightly disturbing if an outsider view is taken.

I wanted my final piece to reflect a conversation, pieced together from unrelated statuses and comments, that somehow told a narrative. So, in the animation, I used random people that no one would know in order to represent that outsider view.  The people in the animation say the most random comments in the most random places and situations. If you think about it, how many people post statuses from buses or in class? What if those things were said out loud? Would we be more mindful of the things we say?

Posted in Art, Projects | Leave a comment

Final Project

For my final project I wanted to create another animation, because I really enjoyed the creation process of my last project.

For my idea, I want to personify the different social media brands. I want to do some research on how they do business, react to problems and situations, what each of the sites do for users. I haven’t completely figured out all of the aspects of my project, but I do know that it will most likely be a satire or parody of these professional companies.

If that doesn’t work out, my back up will be to create an animation that features tweets or statuses in real life. Basically, if Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist people would walk around saying these tweets as real sentences. I couldn’t imagine speaking just using 140 characters statements, so I think it would be funny to show the reactions and how the “real life twitter” would work. I think that would be a combination of text and character animation.

Posted in Art, Projects | 1 Comment

Re-imagining Animation

•As outlined in the article, what are some of the influences (technologically AND culturally) on animators?

Both the growth and the advancement of technology have really influenced how artists view and create their works. Some really value old film compared to digital video because it has an aesthetic that digital video just doesn’t have. Many artists use appropriated video and images to convey their thoughts and ideas. This medium is used for different reasons depending on the artist. They could like the challenge of creating something new from something old; or they could enjoy the idea that they don’t have to worry about making filming calls and it completely open to interpreting the work of others.

Also, artists have used either their culture, or the culture of others, in different forms -using cultural events as inspiration, to written poetry being considered an art form because of how it is expressed and what is conveyed. Exploring the infinite possibilities of the unreal can be an artist’s greatest influence. In a world where everything is so cut and dry, the unknown becomes a very powerful tool in which declarations and questions can be raised. It is meant to change the way a culture thinks about life and what it means to have the life that we do.

•What mediums/spaces is animation intersecting with, according to the article?

Animation is cutting into the worlds of film, poetry, advertising, websites, and countless others. Animation is also showing up in our everyday landscapes on buildings and in crowded cities.

•How might the medium continue to change and evolve in the future, particularly through upcoming technological shifts?

It may get to a point where the crosses between these forms of media are unnoticeable. I hope that the art won’t get lumped in with the “entertainment media” as something to be enjoyed. Art is meant to be thought about much more than most shows on television are. I feel that there is so much overlap that there will no longer be that difference.

•Look up two of the artists/pieces mentioned (via youtube, vimeo, the artist’s website, or some other source) and provide a mini-review.

Robert Seidel –Dive Painting:

This video shows the animation from far away and close up and I could not imagine the difference between the two. Even though they are both showing the same exact footage, just changing the view that you look at it gives it a little more dimension. At first, I thought Vimeo wasn’t working when it first started, so I was surprised that it actually became animated. I couldn’t get the video to play all the way through, which really was a disappointment. I did, however, think that the animation of the diver combined with the wakes and waves that happened while he was swimming was incredibly timed and executed.

Peter Tscherkassky –Outer Space:

This film was incredibly unsettling. I really felt like I was looking in on this person’s life and felt as if I shouldn’t have been watching it. I didn’t recognize the original film this came from, so being unfamiliar with it increased the sense of unease. It’s almost like watching a movie and getting bad reception so it goes in and out and you have no idea what is going on.  Overall, I felt very delusional and confused while watching it, but it made so much sense for me to have those feelings.

Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Choice Artists

Ernie Gehr – Serene Velocity

At first this video was really hard for me to watch, mainly because it made my eyes water and I got really dizzy. However, the longer I watched it the more interesting it became. In the beginning I thought that the pattern twisted and changed, but the whole frame just seems to be moving forward in a sequence. It was incredibly mesmerizing and the more I thought about it I really started to overanalyze the video.

Toward the end of the video I began to feel really unsettled and anxious when the sequence changed. I had watched it in one way for so long that I got accustomed to what was happening that I honestly stopped paying attention. The sudden changes in the video woke me up and made me pay attention. I also felt like I was in the middle of The Grudge or another horror movie, because of the lighting and how frequently it changed. By the end of the video, I was incredibly confused. I understand that the abrupt ending is meant to (again) kick the viewer out of the rhythm that the beginning had maintained, but I wanted more from it. I remember thinking something along the lines of “is it really over?” Then I realized that it had and I was a little disappointed. It could have maybe had a more climactic ending to push that unsettling feeling over the top.

Douglas Gordon – 24-Hour Psycho

I was kind of upset that I could only find a clip of 24 Hour Psycho online, because I don’t think that it gives quite the same effect as the whole video would. Saying that, I found the clip to be really suspenseful. While watching it I had this uneasy feeling because I recognized what was happening (I’ve seen the movie before) but it was different from the original. All I wanted was for it to just speed up to the original speed.

Also, I found it to be much more appealing visually than the original movie was. Every frame of the clip seemed to have an amazing photographic quality about it, which wasn’t as evident when I watched the original movie. Even though the clip was more dramatic and suspenseful, it also was able to bring out the beauty in the construction of each shot.

William Kentridge – Weighing…and Wanting 

At first I thought that the video was about life choices. The sound of the medical machines and the clips of the brain scans made it seem like the man’s life was coming to an end and his life was flashing through his head. After that I thought it was about how technology and the improving resources distracted people from living their lives and having their priorities in line. However, I found something online that said video is about the biblical story of Belshazzar and how it connects to apartheid in South Africa. The man struggles to think about how he was oppressed and the things he left behind.

The video was unlike anything that I’ve seen. The animation took recognizable images and was able to give them a different meaning. Even though I didn’t know the exact meaning it held, I was still able to watch it and form my own conclusions.

Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Chapters 4 & 5 – Video Art by Michael Rush

Describe (in some detail) the domains that video art is now extending into?

Artists are now combining different techniques and technologies to create their work. Some use digital video and put it on a DVD in order to project it in a studio, others are using digital video that has the look of 35 millimeter film or just editing the footage digitally for convenience.

Lately, more artists are combining several different techniques when creating a video; such as graphics, digital video, film, and “computer art.” For example, one artist mentioned in the chapter (Video Art by Michael Rush- chapter 4) is Pierre Huyghe.

His work consisted of pieces of popular films that are then recreated by a team of actors and Huyghe. These pieces are usually critiques of the movie industry, showing the unknown or unedited versions of these popular films. The actors will be shown forgetting their lines or acting differently than the characters did in the original movies. One of his videos, Remake, is a critique on the movie Rear Window and completely “de-emphasizes” the mystery of the film. He also uses installations as a way to present his art, which is similar to the way the original films are presented-in theaters.

What kinds of issues are artists exploring in this “extended video art medium”?

As I mentioned before, some artists (like Pierre Huyghe) explore the ideas of exposing the reality in movie making. The actors are very real and unedited which changes the whole feel and view on the popular movies that he remakes. In other pieces, such as The Third Memory (based on the film Dog Day Afternoon), he focuses on the ideas of memory and identity. This video in particular shows different shots from the original film, his remake of the film, his shots of the crew and cameras and combines all of them in the same installation interacting with one another.

Douglas Gordon explored identity and perception with Hollywood films, mainly because of the relationship he had with these films. His piece, 24 Hour Psycho, slowed down the footage from the original film which ended up creating something that took away the original tension from the film and added tension in a new way. The chapter talked about how the end result “played with viewers’ expectations as well as their memories and fears.

The issues that are also explored by these artists may be unintentional, such as commercialism and perfection. The reason that films are edited is to take away the imperfections and to have a polished product. People generally aren’t as attracted to reality as they are to perfection.

State some differences between video art at its inception in the 1960s and video art today. How is digital media altering or evolving video art?

Many artists use installations as part of their work, and the way the installations are used have changed a lot over the years. The bulky projectors have changed as technology has, developing much smaller DVD projectors. This has helped to create a greater freedom for the artist in the installation.

These installations have included everything from projections to the use of multiple television screens. However, installations aren’t the only thing that has changed since the 1960’s – the videos that are created have also changed. As I have talked about earlier, different techniques (combining animation and digital video, etc.) have been created and combined based on the preferences and abilities of the artist. The new and developing technologies have also helped to change video art.

There has also been a transition from film to digital video, because of the greater convenience. Editing digital video is much easer than having a film-editing machine. The biggest change is the amount of interactivity that viewers have with the art. It is no longer about just seeing the art, but becoming a participant.

As for the actual videos, they now include virtual reality and web art to be an “extension” of video art. Video is no longer restricted to digital video or traditional film, but it’s about the combination of many different techniques.

Why are some video artists motivated to work with appropriated films? And/or what issues does appropriated film enable artists to explore?

Going back to the first few questions, artists see appropriated footage as something to critique. They are able to take something that the general public is familiar with and change it to portray the feelings and thoughts that the artist is feeling/thinking. It’s about changing the preconceived notions that the viewers have towards the films and getting them to expand their knowledge.

By using the appropriated footage, artists are able to explore their feelings, the feelings of their audience, and the social norms under which the film was originally presented. They can also look critically at how the films are made and what goes on behind the scenes.

How does the author characterize video art’s relationship to cinema, to photography, to painting?

Video art is a cheaper, more accessible version of traditional cinema. The topics of many of the videos that the artists in the chapter focused on were using popular films as a critique of humanity and our experiences. Video art has been able to show us what the films neglect to. These videos tend to venture outside of camera’s view to show alternative situations and conditions.

In terms of photographs, they can be combined with videos to make a new type of combination art. In some ways, people view video and photographs as very constructed and unreal, and use the two forms of image to create something completely different. Both photographs and videos can be edited in the same way, by using programs to alter, distort, and combine images and videos to create something new.

Video art is like a painting, because the result and the process are completely controlled by the artist. However, like a painting, the artist’s “hand” in the art is absent. Both types of art are able to combine the real and the unreal in the same space and are able to seamlessly (if that’s the intention) integrate them into the work. 

Why might the author be suggesting this decade as the last one for video art?

Video art has changed and developed so much, because the means in which it was shot has. Videos used to be shot on film, but then it switched over to digital because it was cheaper, easier, and more convenient. Now, artists are combining more than one medium (film, animation, digital video, etc.) and that is taking this type of art to a completely different place.

How are artists engaging the issue of surveillance?

Many artists create some kind of interactive installation where the viewers are a part of the art. In some cases, cameras follow their movements throughout the gallery and project them or combine them with the images of others. Some project the video on the walls, others have used multiple television screens around the space. By filming the viewers, it gives them the feeling that  “Big Brother” is watching, and gets them to think critically about how many times they are caught on film daily. There have been some pieces that put cameras much closer to the participants; such as in Kiki Seror’s video ModusOperandi . In the video, she put small cameras on the ends of mascara and eye shadow brushes. This gives you a more intimate take on surveillance.  Also, it is interesting that people monitor their favorite celebrities or athletes all the time and don’t view it as an invasion of privacy.

Posted in Art | Leave a comment