Monday, 17 December 2012

Wilderness Downtown - Arcade Fire (Part 1).

I found this fab music video the other day and I've been meaning to make a post about it all week. It's The Wilderness Downtown - Arcade Fire, although the song is actually called We Used To Wait. It's called The Wilderness Downtown, though, because the music video is actually an interactive film.

And that's what makes this music video post-worthy. - this is the link to the website. What you do when you go on it, is you type in the address of the place you grew up in, allow pop-ups and then let the website do the rest. It's an interactive Chrome experiment which involves Chrome, Maps, video and HTML5. 

The premise of the music video in itself is quite simple: it's a boy, running through streets, for the entire time. Simple, right? Yes. Boring? Not quite. What makes this video interesting is that fact that it incorporates your hometown into it. The album this song came from, The Suburbs, is about disillusioned youths and detachment from society as they come of age, and so this video is especially effective in achieving this message. The boy in the video is running away from something, although it is not clearly explained what.

The best thing about this video is that it makes the message accessible to anybody.

All of these pop ups are part of the interactive experience. The pop up in the bottom right corner is the house I grew up in. The tree isn't actually there, it's superimposed over the top, to make it appear as if the boy is actually running through my hometown. The camera pans out to show the street at bird's eye view and a small black dot is visible, adding to this experience.

And that's the thing that makes this music video so personal and the message so easily accessible. The character is where you grew up; he's running past your house, down your street. This immediately transports you back to your childhood, and makes it easy for the audience to connect with the main character, as having them in a familiar location makes them relatable. It takes you back to where you grew up and puts you in the right frame of mind to really consider the meaning of the song and video. The teenage boy (from the looks of him, nearly a man) is running through the place of his childhood, trying to relive it and soak in as much as possible before he has to become an adult. Putting it in the viewer's hometown makes them remember as they were coming of age and having to grow up, when they were longing to be a child again.


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