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Friday Afternoon Video: Arcade Fire - Reflektor

Brand new from Grammy Award-winning Arcade Fire...

Bruce Bennett

Finding videos for Friday Afternoon Video can at times be difficult. Rap and hip hop songs that I like are often misogynistic or outright vulgar. Many interesting songs have videos that are really boring. And a lot of indie rock bands have music videos that are incredibly weird while still containing objectionable material.

The music video for the title track of Arcade Fire's forthcoming album Reflektor definitely falls into the "indie band doing something weird with their music video" category. However, the music pairs Arcade Fire's talents with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and is (unsurprisingly) pretty great, so I'm going to use it anyways. Moreover, I've found the commentary on this new album to be very interesting. From The Atlantic:

"Reflektor" is a song about getting off the Internet. "We’re so connected, but are we even friends?" Win Butler sings, puncturing the notion that social media sites like Facebook bring us together. Though Mark Zuckerberg and his Silicon Valley friends preach the power of machines to promote kinship and closeness, it’s not a notion of intimacy the band is buying. Butler’s lyric "We fell in love at 19, and I was staring at a screen" sounds like a lament, expressing skepticism at the notion that two people in separate rooms, typing or Skyping, can be a worthwhile kind of love.

I don't agree with this sentiment, but I do find it to be interesting thought candy. I often find the rantings of the media (or others) against our generation's propensity to form communities online to be a reflection of a generation gap that shows that they don't understand the way that our generation interacts with technology. Indeed, it's from a strong belief in the benefits and pleasures of good internet communities that Mark and I wanted to start Our Daily Bears. However, there are differences between internet families and real families, and while I think that fact doesn't render the internet families irrelevant, perhaps we should (re)consider where we draw the line between the two.

Of course, while Arcade Fire is singing about the perils of social media, they're also using (really) cool new technology to make interactive videos. The Verge has more:

the band debuted an interactive short film called "Just a Reflektor" that turns viewers into participants in the video by allowing them to control virtual light sources through their smartphones. The film tracks the phone's physical position through each viewer's webcam, and it uses that position to simulate how it would illuminate the screen. The video changes course eventually, at times using the phone to control light being reflected off of mirrors or projected out of headlights, having the phone's speakers serve as an extra source of sound, or using just the webcam to bring the viewer into the film itself..."Just a Reflektor" joins that [Google Chrome Experiments] program as well, and even has a page dedicated to explaining the web technologies that it uses to make the whole setup work.

Without further ado, here's the video. Happy Friday!