The Forum will be holding a meeting to discuss infinity and the invention of music video at Piet’s Hut on VR3D this Wednesday, December 28, at 6pm PST / 9pm EST.
In Movies of the Mind, Nez introduces the diptych of Rio and Casablanca Moonlight by beginning, “Late in the 1920s in one of the grand cinema palaces that’s just been built. So it empties quickly just after the movie’s over. But he stays in the theatre. And so pretty quickly he’s all by himself just sitting in the theatre alone. He’s savoring the possibilities that this new cinema thing has just uncovered in his own thought. It’s evoked forgotten desires. And he wonders would he ever act on them? Or should he? Or if he were to act, what would he do? Where would he find himself?”
The phrase “this new cinema thing” could be an allusion to music video.
In an interview before receiving the Ernie Kovacs Award, Nez said, “I love fiction writing and I love making stuff up. It has stayed there as a kind of continuous background to everything else that I’ve done. It’s not another thing that I do -- it’s sort of the only thing that I do and everything flows from that.”
I believe that the images, ideas, and narratives presented by Nez in Movies of the Mind have been with their songs since inception. I see these as his earliest music videos, and I suspect that a music video of some form exists in his mind for every song he’s written. Movies of the Mind lies somewhere between a book with a soundtrack and music video -- an orally delivered music video found in consciousness.
While Rio itself is about the experience of watching a movie, visual elements of the song suggest music video in such a way that it is difficult to imagine that Nez didn’t have music video in mind while writing it. What he did have in mind was infinity and capturing it through music.
Nez has synesthesia. He finds expression for this in the opening lines of Rio: “I’m hearing the light from the window. I’m seeing the sound of the sea.” These lines also describe the experience of watching a film -- the continuity of senses found when sound and image are synchronized.
Infinity is continuous. The seamless combining of forms into a new medium as found in music video reflects this continuity. Music video is not simply music put over video -- it is a new form. Nez explained in the Kovacs Award interview, “When it was all done, we realized -- Well, something happened when the audio took over the narrative. Something happens that makes discontinuous pictures connect to a continuous audio idea.”
Harmony -- a principle of the infinite -- happens. One definition of harmony is “an arrangement of the four Gospels, or of any parallel narratives, that presents a single continuous narrative text.”
When describing the lift provided by art, Nez said, “Remember the Romantics? -- how those stories had a lift to them -- that lift comes from the spirit of the tale. And that is the art of the narrative, the part that sets the narrative free from the constraints of the story, the sequence of events.” The same is true of music video. The music is what sets the narrative free from the sequence of images -- it is what makes the form continuous. The video is “using the music for flight.”
At our meeting, we will discuss how the invention of music video was a natural outcome of Nez’s exploration of expressing the infinite on From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing.
- Do you think Nez’s synesthesia explains or inspires his attraction to multimedia art forms?
- Do you think this background of fiction in his art influenced the creation of Rio?
- Do you feel the infinite in Rio? How and where?