Music video auteurs: the directors label DVDs and the music videos of Chris Cunningham, Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze

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Abstract

Music video is an intriguing genre of television due to the fact that music drives the images and ideas found in numerous and varied examples of the form. Pre-recorded pieces of pop music are visually written upon in a palimpsest manner, resulting in an immediate and entertaining synchronisation of sound and vision. Ever since the popularity of MTV in the early 1980s, music video has been a persistent fixture in academic discussion, most notably in the work of writers like E. Ann Kaplan, Simon Frith and Andrew Goodwin. What has been of major interest to such cultural scholars is the fact that music video was designed as a promotional tool in their inception, supporting album sales and increasing the stardom of the featured recording artists. Authorship in music video studies has been traditionally kept to the representation of music stars, how they incorporate post-modern references and touch upon wider cultural themes (the Marilyn Monroe pastiche for the Madonna video, Material Girl (1985) for instance). What has not been greatly discussed is the contribution of music video directors, and the reason for that is the target audience for music videos are teenagers, who respond more to the presence of the singer or the band than the unknown figure of the director, a view that is also adhered to by music television channels like MTV.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - 2007


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