On The Scene//The Art of Pop Video

It's rare to find an exhibition that truly melds the often polar opposite worlds of art and music so perfectly but our recent vist to Liverpool's FACT for their recently opened Art of Pop Video exhibition revealed just that. Across two galleries a miriad of music videos were on offer for the senses to revel in and we did just that for a couple of blissful hours.

If you go onto any video sharing service you'll find a huge number of music videos from a huge number of artists to watch. It's fair bet that were such a list to exist, the contents every music video ever made would exhaust even the most eager of music fans. Luckily, there's Art of Pop Video to take in, offering more than enough music to fill an afternoon with pleasure. We began in the ground floor gallery, with many fellow visitors taking in the audiovisual sights on offer as music from the ever artistic godess of alternativa Björk plays over the gallery PA.

The setup of numerous screens and headphones is perfect - indeed the only improvement would be a second set on each screen so two can enjoy the music at the same time. On first glance there is seemingly way too much to get around in the traditional gallery visit but the beauty of this exhibition is that the nature of the music video is often comparatively short. And, with videos from anything of one minute to twenty minutes you can make your own playlist as the videos run on repeat. 

There is a nice mix of the commercial through to the less well known, with the obvious contender for the poster image Björk having her own little booth in which you can watch the 3-D version of Wanderlust, from 2008's Volta album. The video has lost none of it's charm and with or without the 3-D effects it's a enjoyably artful watch, as weird as it is exhilarating. Other highlights include Grace Jones' Slave To The Rhythm video, Prince's Sign of the Times animated video and much more besides.

It would be difficult to truly pick an absolute defining moment from this exhibition but some of our key pieces include Carsten Nicolai's 'future past perfect pt 3' in which the ever dystopian music of Alta Nova sound tracks a man choice of drink from a vending machine. The fact that the location is Japan makes it all the more interesting, with the visually fascinating vending machines found there a popular subject in art. Other key pieces include the always entertaining Thriller, arguably the most famous music video of the show next to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. It could be argued that without the innovation of these artists the music videos we see today would not be quite as well developed. 

As film and music have collided into each other over the last two decades in ever more artful and fascinating ways it seems that Art of Pop Video is an exhibition surely  long overdue. Get on down to FACT and enjoy it now!

Words by Sebastian Gahan. 

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