I’m fascinated by new technology being used in old ways, or old things being done in new ways, or something like that. A kinetic typography video brought strange associations to mind today.
Kinetic typography is a recent innovation, and one that will may pass quickly. A passage of text is animated, with the type itself the subject of the animation. Many of them are flashy, but shallow. The words zip and zoom, but in the end, it’s just a different way to display text.
Or so I thought. Today, I saw Jarrett Heather’s adaptation of Jonathan Coulton’s song Shop-Vac:
I loved this animation because of the numerous references sprinkled through it. It reminds me of traditional art, where symbols in a painting or a play were obvious to audiences of the day, but now must be explained to modern viewers. When we look at Shop-Vac, we see all sorts of visual connections that deepen the message of the song and draw us into its world. The word “mall” is clearly a reference to Macy’s, the gourmet food store is Whole Foods, the paired Starbucks reference a Google Map navigated world of uniformly branded unfamiliar intersections, and so on.
100 years from now, this video would need a dozen footnotes, as Shakespeare plays do today. I don’t think kinetic typography is going to become a serious art form, but you never know. In any case, Jarrett has created art with it in this case.
BTW: Jarrett is also a fabulous piano player, here he is playing a 14-minute medley of JoCo songs.