Video Media – Video Artist

Spike Jonze

Spike Jonze who is a director, producer, screenwriter and actor from Maryland, USA. His work includes commercials, music videos, video art, skateboard videos and feature and short films.

“I’m Here” is a short film in the genre of Sci-Fi Romance written and Directed by Spike Jonze in 2010. It is set in a world where robots and humans coexist and focuses on two robots that fall in love. The films main focus is around the lead character Shel Silverstein.
This film tackles the same sort of issues a lot of Spike Jonze’s work does the first of which is looking at loneliness; in Jonze’s work this is normally set in big Metropolitan City’s. At the start of the video the robot Shel looks as if he is feeling alone and distant, he appears to have little or no friends and lives in a small empty flat int he middle of the city. Being different in a world where robots and humans coexist is also another difficulty for Shel as you see when he meets an old lady at the bus stop, whom is has an awkward, nervous conversation with.
Jonze directed the music video “Da Funk” by Daft Punk, in this the focus is on a dog who has the body structure of a human. The dog walking through the city that never sleeps New York, he is carrying a boom box playing music and it is again made obvious to the viewer that he is lonely and almost lost in this frantic city full of humans. This again is focusing on an outcast which is a strange choice for a narrative as the music is in the genre of dance and is upbeat, this does though provoke different thoughts and feelings with the two very different messages being merged as one. Sound adding another meaning to image was once mentioned by Rene Clair. “His position was similar to that of Rene Clair, who made a distinction between the limited and disappointing use of sound to imitate real noises and the use of sound to interpret the image, bringing out meanings not evident in the images alone.” [Wayne, 1997].

Another issue that I feel is being drawn upon in a lot of Jonze’s work is that of Humanness. His work focuses a lot on the idea of robots and humans but I also feel that it is always trying to look at the mind and body in different ways sometimes even looking towards the future. The music video made for “Weapon of Choice” by Fat Boy Slim, shows a incredibly straight business man who bursts from a hotel lobby seat into a improvised dance across the hotel for three minutes and then after returns to his seat in an almost zombie like state. This is again simply looking at people differently.
In “I’m Here’ Shel donates all of his body parts to the other robot that he has fallen in love with this is again looking at the issue of cyborgs and prophetic limbs which in todays world is becoming more and more of an issue.

Throughout his work Jonze, has tried to look at our world at the most extreme, robots living as one with humans, dogs living as humans and even in his latest blockbuster “Her” he looks at humans falling in love with operating systems. Most of these issues are things that could one day happen but have hardly even been thought about by humans, his work opens our eyes to this.
Bibliography

“I’m Here” (2010). Directed by Spike Jonze. USA: Absolute Vodka.

Daft Punk – Da Funk, 1995 (video File), Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmi60Bd4jSs [23 Febuary 2010]

Weapon of Choice – Fatboy Slim, 2001 (Video File), Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMZwZiU0kKs [2 August 2006]

“Her” (2013). Directed By Spike Jonze. USA. Annapurna Pictures.

Wayne, M. (1997) Theorising Video Practice. London: Lawrence and Wishalt.

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