Remember the video for Kanye West’s “Power”? At 1:43 seconds long, it blooms and dies within what feels like a moment, but its visuals seemed to nod towards the future of internet imagery. In fact, “Power” is probably one of the first mainstream appearances of what could be called a meta-GIF. The characters in the video are cycling their actions in GIF-like ways, but other than that, no one really seems to have any agency. Like moving props. Like GIFS within a GIF.
In case you don’t remember:
Whether you agree with the meta-GIF theory or not, the visuals of that video felt important. Four years later, and it still feels ahead of its time.
But maybe that’s because the music video’s animator, filmmaker and video artist Marco Brambilla, has crafted an aesthetic so unique that it’s simply untouchable.
Brambilla is widely known for his video collages. The most popular one—aside from the 46-million-view-strong “Power”—is a series called Megaplex, which is divided into three parts: “Evolution,” “Creation,” and “Civilization.” But even though the themes implied by these subtitles are monumentally broad, the content of each HD loop is specific to a single cultural phenomenon: movies.
“Drawing from an array of pop culture sources in order to re-contextualize century old histories, Brambilla’s Megaplex series of works continue to investigate our relationship to the concept of spectacle as presented in contemporary film,” says a description over at the Michael Fukes gallery in Berlin, which represents Brambilla. “[Each series] presents a spectacular cinematic composition that culls from a vast archive of iconic Hollywood films.”
This is one of those cases, however, where words truly are futile and “spectacle” feels like an understatement. These electric artworks might be stills from what would happen if David la Chappelle, Ridley Scott, and Alejandro Jodorowsky made a feature length film together. Take a look at these images to get a better picture of what cinematic chaos looks like.
Anything look familiar? To see them in action, check out some clips over at his website.
Or, better yet, you can check it out at the Michael Fuchs Gallery in Berlin, where the series’ third installment, Creation, is on show until May 31st.
On top of his hallmark video collage series, the Michael Fuchs Gallery is also showcasing a new set of images by Brambilla, collectively titled Celluloid. In stark contrast to the scene-saturated loops of Megaplex, Celluloid takes single iconic images from classics and recreates them through a sort of mutated video filter. Here are a few below:
These represent a more sedated approach towards deconstructing Hollywood, to be sure, but they’re still just as powerful. Characters, scenes, and actors commonly deemed immortal by culture here look as if they’re losing a battle to decay… Maybe Brambilla’s trying to say something about humanity and its many idols.
Keep up to date with Brambilla over at his website.
All images courtesy of Marco Brambilla and Michael Fuchs Gallery.
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