This PhD seeks to understand the capitalistic functions of the music-video form, interpreting its distinctive mode of audio-visuality as characteristic of new forms of commodity production. My research positions the construction of a performer’s identity as emblematic of such forms, examining the manner in which the culture industry produces and codifies notions of ‘personality’ for profit. I will consider the music-video’s role under neoliberalism, examining its role in the global production and reproduction of capitalistic subjectivity.
The music-video will be used as a prism through which to view concerns with standardisation, audio-visuality and artistic autonomy. Poised somewhere between advert, commodity, and artwork, the music-video has typically been construed as a hybridised form. Today, in the age of internet distribution, the functions the music-video fulfils are increasingly complex: it is unclear as to whether it sells music, advertises a brand, or performs the role of libidinising consumptive space.
The thesis will consist of a body of practical research accompanied by a written analysis. Practical work will consist of two main strands: a collaborative, interactive practice, used to develop forms of collective critique; and a series of text, film and performance works that seek to conceive of new forms of representation and subjectivity emerging from a critical and sensuous engagement with the music-video. My work will expand creatively upon contemporary academic theories of affect, discourse, gender and systemic accumulation, drawing on the work of writers including Paul Preciado and Nancy Fraser.