Our Lives Are Digital


"In a weird way it's a direct reflection of where we are in society now - everything is data," says music video director James Frost, whose video for Radiohead's track "House of Cards" just won Creative Review's prestigious "Best in Book" award. The video, which premiered last July, did not use cameras in any way, but instead was created in collaboration with scientists at UCLA who used high-tech scanning and laser systems to capture and then visualize 3-D information of the band's lead singer, Thom Yorke. The resulting images are gritty bits of evanescent data that perfectly capture the song's sense of longing. The video also suggests the significance of digital information as an aesthetic form. I've been re-reading Anna Munster's provocative book Materializing New Media: Embodiment in Information Aesthetics, which concludes with a call for an "ethico-aesthetic paradigm for information," by which she means a way to think about aesthetics that accounts for technology. "Aesthetics in contemporary culture cannot rise above and remain undisturbed by the machine, for the machine is more intimately than ever an arranger of our perceptual apparatus," she writes. Frost's video perfectly captures this aesthetic, coaxing emotional yearning out of information, and crafting a portrait of being that feels exactly right. "Our lives are digital," says Frost. "In that sense, the video definitely felt apt." Find Creative Review's nod to the video here, and the original Google post, with the making-of video and further information here.

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