'PressPausePlay' explores technology's impact on artistic expression
All the great advances in artistic, creative expression once depended on a technological leap to make new art possible, according to the thought-provoking documentary "PressPausePlay," screened Friday at deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City.
Although the screening had trouble with the Swedish Blu-ray disc, which washed the film's visual aspect in a purple haze — a problem festival staff promised would be fixed before the film's next screening — the message and auditory presentation were more than strong enough to portray the beauty of the film without what is likely an equally wonderful visual experience.
The documentary included voices from directors, technicians and musicians from across the world, who all weighed in on the changes new advances in technology have brought to artistic culture and creation.
The general consensus was with the mass availability for anyone to produce music, film and art themselves apart from the traditional industries, the market is flooded with mediocrity, drowning out the truest — and oftentimes most human — works. We have to work harder to find actually beautiful creations in the ocean of sub-par art that relies on modern technological advances to correct its faults, therein pulling out any semblance of humanity or truth from them.
In fact, most of the professional voices agreed we may be headed toward another cultural dark age because the beautiful complexity of Bon Iver's music and the simplistic, sterilized noise of Rebecca Black can be consumed just as easily.
Juxtaposed against that doom-and-gloom message, however, were glimmers of hope, captured by sequences with Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, whose story was woven seamlessly throughout the film.
Arnalds said technology has allowed him to interact with his audience to create wonderful collaborations of his music and listener-submitted artistic expression, beautifully captured in his music video for "Ljósið."
The democratization of art in today's global world — while making it harder to find quality words of artistic expression — makes it easier to discover creations from artists we might otherwise never have the opportunity to see or hear.
The film climaxed with Arnalds performing his neo-classical/indie strains with a full orchestra from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, as the same professionals who said we may be headed toward a dark age admitted there is hope. Although music consumers rarely sit down to listen to music without performing some other task simultaneously, live shows are reviving the connection between artists and audiences who share in the emotion of the music.
"PressPausePlay" will be screened once more during the festival at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Harkins Theatres. The film's honest exploration of technology's impact on the current and future landscape of art is definitely worth the watch.
— James Corley, journalism senior