Scene and Heard – CCXCIV : Jessica – Christopher Carpenter (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

imagesThis is a bit different from what I usually review on this site. An audio track or video comes my way and I’m asked to give some thoughts and insight into the music, the way it has been put together, what it is trying to do and search for some purpose and point to it all. Jessica is actually something a bit different. For a start the music is not by the artist who sent it or indeed called Jessica but is actually Hangman by Ontario alt-rockers Selfish Things. So what is going on here?

Well, this is actually a piece of performance art. Music has always been a catalyst and a comfort to fans, inspiring them to be similarly creative or giving solace through the words or some sort of sonic emotive connection. What Christopher Carpenter is doing here is choosing music which helps express his creative outpouring. The video is a visual representation of the medical condition akathisia, which manifests itself as a feeling of inner restlessness and an inability to stay still.

And that is exactly what you get from the video. The music provides a driving and slightly fractured sonic backdrop but the action all comes from the subject and his stop-motion effects which sum up the friction and the unrest coming from with in. The video also has a slightly unnerving quality as if you are a voyeur to someone’s private life, an uninvited viewer to the spectacle of someone wrestling with their inner demons.

It’s a strange and challenging visual, provoking a reaction in the view shining a light on an inner turmoil put into movement and feeling like you have stumbled unbidden upon a private recording, a CCTV into someones most personal moments. Strange, beguiling and powerful.


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