Industrial Synth

2000-2001, 16:37 min, color, sound

A dense montage of graphics, charts, and animations, Industrial Synth takes up the tradition of the experimental essay film and flattens it into an oblique composition that reflects on the technological and consumerist dimensions of Modernity. Negating cinematic elements of narrative, performance, and conventional signification, Price's video nonetheless conveys a sense of the pathos of a contemporary digital society, which, despite its promise of the new, relentlessly circles around issues of obsolescence and death.

The following piece of writing, signed "Set Price" and also called Industrial Synth, was distributed at the premiere of the video (2001) at The Museum of Modern Art, New York:

"Modernity, the period roughly spanning the mid 19th century to the present, has produced a vast body of linked and interrelated 'mass' or 'popular' culture, which is, in effect, an archive. This phenomenon is closely tied to the rise of time-based media, from film and the gramophone, through the LP and CD, TV and radio, HiFi, animation, video, and the World Wide Web.

"Most recent of these, the web represents a different order of information technology. Its interactivity distinguishes it from traditional media's 'total flow', which may run 24 hours a day, but can only be switched on or off. Moreover, the web is composed of disparate media previously available only in controlled broadcasts, or locked into discrete consumer objects such as videotapes and records. At least theoretically, then, the historical archive of pop culture becomes accessible, and, just as importantly, mutable: this is an opportunity not simply for preservation, but for re-circulation and recombination along new lines.

"An archive like this allows for an experience of history that is quite personal. Artifacts such as pop songs, typeface designs, logos, and advertisements, are, like illuminated manuscripts or Victorian corsets, headstones marking a bygone era; the difference is that an item of the 'just-past' may have originated in the lived experience of the viewer, and produces the shock of the uncanny: it remains the same as it was, and yet completely different. This shock is a recognition that the change has occurred in the viewing subject. These items are the detritus of a society predicated on perpetual turnover and obsolescence, and a personal experience of history is an intimation of one's own mortality."


In exhibition, this work should be presented in a cinematic situation, i.e. a projection contained in its own room, preferably projected onto a screen, in a black box gallery, with seating provided. Please contact the office for further information.