Sunday, December 5, 2010

Art imitates the transhuman




They say that art imitates life.  If that is the case, then the Singularity must be on a great many people's minds.  Or at the very least, the future.  Even though the future is now if you ask Warren Ellis.

A blurb in from music critic Greg Kot (whom I am normally not a fan of) in this morning's Chicago Tribune pointed out a trend in pop music of the past year.  He calls it "android chic."
Examples of this range from the cover art of Christina Aguilera's record, Bionic, to the stage set of the Black Eyed Peas' recent tour, which came complete with green lasers and a sci fi Fergie (see above).  Another example cited was the prevalence of Auto-Tune in pop records, making singers sound like, as Kot put it, "like HAL from 2001."  That last quote really makes me wonder if Kot has even seen 2001, but I digress.

It is true that futurism is as much a subject for artists today as it ever has been.  Lady Gaga and Rhianna are examples of artists following in a line long of succession in such a concept.  Bowie built much of his career on the meme with the magnificence that is "Space Oddity," "Starman," "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars," just to name a few (hold tight, fellow Bowie mavens.  This may just be the subject of a future post.)  Technology like Auto-Tune has driven rock and pop music for a long while now.  Sometimes the results have been sublime, such as in the cases of The Cure, The Killers, Gary Numan, and of course, my beloved Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.  It has also cursed us with much schlock, such as...well, nearly anyone who uses Auto-Tune.

So no, "android chic" is not about to go away anytime soon.  One quote made by Janelle Monae in the above mentioned article truly resonated with me.  It was in regard to her concept of "The ArchAndroid:"
"The android to me represents the other in our society.  I can connect to the other, because it has so many parallels to my own life--just by being a female, African-American artist in today's music industry."

I couldn't agree more.  And I am excited to see where musicians, as well as writers and all other artists take this mirror reflection of ourselves in the future.

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