Just a little bit of techno-geek: GIFs are bitmap pictures of just 256 colors usually reserved for low-res film clips. That turns out to be the perfect formula for what synth band New Hands’ wanted for their latest video.
The electronic group has put out a GIF-based generative video for their new-wave song “Strange Attractor,” taking people’s random vintage home videos from Youtube and mashing them up in strange ways.
The idea seems bred from the vein of John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” video;
But for “Strange Attractor,” New Hands has curated more than 900 images — of young children, a guy trying to stuff something in a car trunk, skateboarders, dancers over the decades, Las Vegas, a man with a mask, car crashes, karate events, — usually catching people at their most awkward-looking.
These mundane images are familiar, wonderful and mysterious at the same time. The clashes of culture are oddly at home together on “Strange Attractor.”
Every time you click on New Hands’ video generator for “Strange Attractor,”, it regenerates the order of 329 of these images, for a unique experience every time. You could also just watch the YouTube version, which is slightly easier.
Sometimes the beat of “Strange Attractor” feeds off one of the images, but most of the time the awkward pictures are unsettling but extremely interesting to watch. You can never really latch on to one picture because in a few seconds, any attachment you might have to that is replaced with something different and new.
Drummer Gord Bond explained why the GIF format appealed to him:
“It was the GIF format that intrigued me. Technically it is a picture file, but it allows for animation. To me this was an interesting dualism. On the one hand its a video and on the other a still image. By using the GIF files we compiled as the frames for the video we are bringing attention to the structural element of video – the individual frame, which when stitched together create movement. This idea of stillness vs movement is also repeated in the thematic element of the video. The GIFs all contain some form of movement. Movement is critical to the song itself, it is constantly in motion.”
If you’re not into any of that, you can still just listen to the song at Soundcloud.
The song was mixed by Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck. New Hands’ debut full-length album is due next year.