Text by Hope ‘Leye
Pop-Pop-Music was presented on September 23 as part of Recon Festival, a series of events and exhibitions across Leeds and Bradford celebrating experimental music, film and art, taking place in various venues such as the Howard Assembly Room, Delius Arts and Culture Centre, Wharf Chambers Co-operative Club, Brudenell Social Club and Hyde Park Picture House where Pop-Pop-Music was on show.
Pop-Pop-Music brought together film and music in a collage of art films and popular music from the past few decades, delivered in juxtaposition to create new works exploring the potential of both mediums. This unique show borrowed music and incorporated it as not only a soundtrack to the visual art on show but also as art with its own merit, drawing upon the themes and layers of meaning and significance attached to many well-known songs from the recent past to create an emotive and captivating audio-visual journey.
Opening with a hypnotic and confident mix of elegantly controlled film by Steina Vasulka and the nostalgic sounds of the anthemic Let It Be by The Beatles, merging the work of an industry changing band and one of the pioneering early adopters of video art to set the tone for the show. Bringing together works from the 1940s to the early 21st century, Pop-Pop-Music assembled pieces with differing cultural value in sound and visual art, that moved from feeling like a nostalgic documentary, to a comedic flashback and then at times offering an intimate insight to the past. Reminding the viewer not only of the social and historical significance of particular pieces of music, but also their power to still move us in new and exciting ways in the present.
A personal favourite moment was the powerful juxtaposition of New Order’s timeless hit ‘Blue Monday’, a prelude to the musical and club scene revolution of the 1990’s and the politically charged work of The Duvet Brothers challenging class inequality, privatization and the heavy economic polices of the Thatcher government that would pave the way for the creative rebellion of the next decade. Simultaneously the piece nodded to the broader significance of the Duvet Brothers in the show-reel as pioneers in the field of scratch video, a creative movement that utilised found footage and sounds such as older broadcasting clips and music to create new aggressive pieces of audio-visual art. The dramatic sounds of Blue Monday echo a powerful nostalgic sense of revolution that encapsulates the spirit of the festival as a whole, seeking to celebrate progressive experimentation in the fields of art, film and music.