‘play/pause’: playlist interruption

Lizzie Langton

At O.T.O, a night of artists’ music video and live programming held at FOLD London, David Hall’s TV Interruptions 93 will be shown between DJ sets. The work consists of a series of moving image works shown on MTV between their music video programming, defining a moment where the two media were able to share the same space. Seeing this work has inspired me to make interruptions of my own through which I hope to disrupt the assumption that music videos don’t have academic or intellectual worth. Throughout the zine on this website you will notice a ‘play/pause’ button under the title of each text.

By pressing the orange ‘play/pause’ button you will be taken to a YouTube playlist that compliments and reinforces themes in each text. 

Each playlist has a description detailing the connection to the written piece that will encourage you to view the selected music videos with new criticality.

On the surface perhaps music videos appear to function as merely promotional tools used by record labels to ensure sales of their artist’s work. But looking closer, and by holding them with artist’s moving image, you begin to appreciate the depths to which these short films permeate our lives. They can emote feeling from a global audience, they make us laugh, they make us think and they are memorable in their careful balance of image and score. Yes, there are objectively ‘bad’ music videos, but so too with moving image. The assumption that moving image is highbrow and music videos low seems insufficient to describe the complexities of both media and their relationship to each other. What we can be sure of is that they share a similar language and aim to draw thought and emotion from their audience.

One of the virtues of music videos is how they are shared from artist to fans, and how online access to these works is relatively unprohibited. YouTube has played a constant part in the dissemination of music videos since launching in 2005 and is a space that encourages the collection, interaction, and distribution of this medium. This has born a culture of distribution and interaction through various online platforms and social media. A culture of fans editing and readjusting narratives presented in music videos that has seen YouTube become a space of creative moving image possibility. By compiling artist’s visuals and lyrics from more proficient emoters in a playlist format, we begin to better understand our own selves and experiences. To share this with each other is understood as a vulnerable act which exposes more than music taste, it exposes part of your soul.

As well as curating playlists to accompany the essays written for this publication, I have included one more playlist just for fun. In the spirit of this project, where an appreciation of music video collides with art, here is a playlist of music videos all shot in museum and gallery spaces. Enjoy.