In his book titled Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds, Timothy Murray writes about a concept of time inspired by new media art, describing time as always “in-between,” always split between past and present, with one side twisting toward the past, the other launching itself toward the future. “To be ‘in’ the machinic state of time,” Murray writes, “is to be confronted with the touch, turn, vision, and thought of the interval, the in-between, as the recombinant turning of time.”
A compelling embodiment of this “recombinant turning of time” occurs in a lovely new music video by Vanessa Marzaroli for the Cinematic Orchestra’s “Lilac Wine,” a song originally written in 1950 and performed by artists as varied as Eartha Kitt and Nina Simone, and more recently by Jeff Buckley. The three-minute video opens with sweeping pen strokes as a camera glides backwards, words gently appear, and then a bird takes shape, crafted also by lines of black ink. Flowers, branches and delicate designs gradually come into clarity and then disappear, a peacock’s massive feathers shimmer, and the piece unfolds in a swirl of time as hints of story take shape.
“As I was reading the lyrics,” explains Marzaroli, a director at the Los Angeles-based multimedia design studio Blind, “it really felt like a love song, with someone expressing his or her thoughts. I liked that expression of the inner self, and it seemed like something that could be written in a journal, and I wondered, if it’s handwritten, how can you push this even further?”
Marzaroli has been trying to push things further for a long time. She grew up in a musical family in Los Angeles, where her family moved from Thailand in order to support the musical education of Marzaroli and her sister. She attended the LA County High School for the Arts. “I had always studied classical piano, but by high school, I was bored out of my mind!” she says. Marzaroli explains that the classical musicians in her school spent a lot of time alone practicing for hours and hours. The visual artists, on the other hand, would hang out together having fun: “They were always socializing, and they looked really cool, and so I switched to visual art. I just knew right away that I wanted to do some kind of graphic design.” She tried illustration for a while, and static design, but motion intrigued her the most. “I think I just have a short attention span. I wanted to work on things that were fast and exciting. I wanted to work with moving images, and I wanted to direct and work with other people.”
Vanessa Marzaroli’s amazing work reviewed by Holly Willis gives perfect insight into being an artist and creating future audiences.