I am going to be on the plane most of the day, but before I board, may I suggest this video from the
Swedish Chicago band Ok Go?
It’s not like anything I have ever seen before. It is astonishing, in a very low key, very low tech, utterly wacky, entirely brilliant way.
So the Letterman-Schaeffer question: "is this something or is it nothing?" What new developments in contemporary culture does this portent? It’s kind of like syncronized swimming without the swimming? Rock and roll has always made a near fetish of being more rough than ready, more chaotic than formed. And this most be one of the reasons this video is such arresting (and arrested), so genre busting, so sincere on the one hand, so ridiculous on the other.
Here is YouTube acting as our periscope on a world that might otherwise passed right over head.
See the video here.
Thanks to Leora Kornfeld for this extraordinary find.
Hey Grant –
It really is amazing (although they’re from Chicago, not Sweden). There’s a very web 2.0 story about that video as well. It spread around the internet quickly, and for a while it was the most downloaded video on YouTube, then people started making their own videos of the dance moves – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW-Wpwc01Pc – which the band was smart enough to seize upon and run a YouTube contest – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aQSpV5cERY – which spawned even more fan videos, which made the band even more famous. Who needs MTV?
Here’s something for when you get off the plane – their new video, just as awesome:
One of the musicians was on the Colbert Report two days ago for an interesting if silly segment about the collapse (or is it dominance) of pop culture. It was actually one of the smartest things I’ve seen on TV for a while; the interview itself was so-so, but the premise of the whole segment (“it’s crumbelievable”) was brilliant.
Their record company refused to release the video because they thought it was cheap and strange. So they released it themselves. Yeh!
When I saw the OK Go guy appear on Colbert the other night, just as the ‘treadmill video’ had made its round among my friends & colleagues I realized at that moment why Colbert’s show is ‘working’ for me better than Jon Stewart. Also enjoyable, but increasingly just the first 10 minutes. Colbert is operating at the meta level, and his ‘crumbelievable’ look at popular culture the other night, as evidenced by the treadmill dance video, had the show venturing into new terrain; adding another dimension of analysis to the mix. If parody is a game and satire is a lesson then the Colbert report may be staking out a new path for commentary.
And how great was it when he said to Mr OK Go, ‘well, we all know that music is only good if big corporations TELL us it’s good’ and Mr OK Go nodded with just the right amount of wink wink.
Synchronized movement has always fascinated us (think: Rockettes, marching band routines, pairs ice skating.) There are lots of psychological “explanations,” many of which have to do with the psychoanalytic notion of “fusion.” We are drawn to co-ordinated movement, this thinking goes, because it appeals to a desire to meld our identities with those of our fellows, rooted in a desire to re-create a single ego.
I prefer to think the appeal of this video was its exuberant charm.
A wonderful video. I find it very entertaining and funny.
This video makes my day.
Thank you for sharing this video with me !
Very Dada – as though Marcel Duchamp produced a late night infomercial.
Those guys remind me of The Wiggles – except for the music.
the Colbert interview was totally hysterical.
Damian was totally not ready for it.
and the videos are always amazing.
Those who do not know history are damned to repeat it