Video by Ryan Molloy

This was originally written in triptophonic (is there a proper word for 3 channel?) sound, for three 80s-style mono TVs, each running video, for a total of 10 minutes. Installed in the Crisis show at Detroit Industrial Projects.

Below is a version edited down one screen for a much shorter 2:45. It was accepted into the 2009 OneDotZero festival.

In the Veneerists, Ryan considers the growing use of (graphic) design to sell products, and ultimately, a lifestyle, in post WWII America. The industrial boom prompted by the war resulted in a surplus of goods, which, in order to be moved into consumer hands, required the shift from function and necessity to physical attractiveness and social desirability. In these videos (assembled here into a semi-narrative montage), Ryan presents design as both a filmic element as well as an encroaching, insidious character.

This contrast of blithe 1950s optimism with the darker underbelly of consumerism immediately brought to mind David Lynch films, and in turn, the music of Roy Orbison (since Lynch films were my gateway to Orbison, it’s hard to say whether there’s something genuinely dark about his music or whether I’m mapping Lynch’s noir onto Orbison’s seemingly cheery tunes). The entire (musical) piece is based in a very loose way on Orbison’s “In Dreams.” The original is 10 minutes, in four two and a half minute “movements,” the first being a slightly more faithful reworking of “In Dreams”. From there, it moves into a darker, more modern piece, and then folds in looped audio from the original source footage that Ryan worked from, culminating (of course) in final movement that works with elements of the previous three.

This is probably far more than you really wanted to know.

I think Ryan’s videos are really nuanced and interesting, though, and worth a little jawboning on my part.