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The Significance of Architecture in Music Videos

What can be learned from music videos about popular culture's relationship to architecture?
August 10, 2015, 8am PDT | Emily Calhoun
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Emily Calhoun

The music video form broke wide open the field of filmmaking, eschewing narrative conventions to focus on style, tone, and pace. Oftentimes dreamlike, sometimes completely abstract, music videos provide a visual interpretation of the feeling of a song. It is this feeling state that interests ArchDaily writer Dario Goodwin. What does the music video tell us about how people relate to the architecture it features?

Using six videos—from various music genres—that feature identifiable architectural forms from around the world, Goodwin demonstrates how to use film to understand how popular culture relates to architecture. "For an architect wondering how the public truly understand and interact with a piece of architecture or remember a style, music videos are an untapped goldmine, since every setting location and filming choice show off how our wider culture relates to a building."

From the animated ziggurats in Art Department’s "Walls" to Ryan Adams' literal ode to "New York, New York," Goodwin gives meaning to the architectural choices made by the music video filmmaker. For example, in describing the moody and surreal video for Leonard Cohen’s "In My Secret Life," Dario writes: "This video uses Habitat 67 to suggest some kind of procedurally-generated collective unconscious, and often projects some of the more surreal scenes onto the building's surfaces, making the eggs eating eggs part of the structure itself."

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Published on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 in ArchDaily
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