This experiment in algorithmic filmmaking shows the Internet in a curved mirror

From makeup tutorials to gangnam-style dance routines to cute animal videos, hundreds of hours worth of video content are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. In an experiment in algorithmic filmmaking, Manchester band Shaking Chains decided to tap into this vast depository to create an ever-changing music video for their song “Midnight Oil.”

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Every time someone plays the video, an algorithm pulls footage from the Internet, selecting it based on an evolving set of hundred search terms, creating a unique experience each time. The artists did not want to reveal the searches except for one — “Black Friday Fights,” also adding that the terms are in general reflective of the song and various aspects of contemporary culture.

“I was looking to create something visual and emotive, even poetic, yet connected to the songs,” band member Jack Hardiker told Vice Creators. “I sought to obliquely reframe the stuff we subject ourselves to (whether beautiful, distressing, mundane, frivolous or eroticized) and algorithmically cut them into a new context.”

The end result is equal parts mesmerizing and disturbing as we go from contouring techniques to war coverage and to animal stunts in seconds. The video offers a curved mirror-esque zeitgeist of our times and the times to come as it will evolve depending on the content being uploaded.

You can see the music video here. The Shaking Chains' debut single “Midnight Oil” is out April 21, 2017.

Midnight Oil

From makeup tutorials to gangnam-style dance routines to cute animal videos, hundreds of hours worth of video content are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. In an experiment in algorithmic filmmaking, Manchester band Shaking Chains decided to tap into this vast depository to create an ever-changing music video for their song “Midnight Oil.”

Every time someone plays the video, an algorithm pulls footage from the Internet, selecting it based on an evolving set of hundred search terms, creating a unique experience each time. The artists did not want to reveal the searches except for one — “Black Friday Fights,” also adding that the terms are in general reflective of the song and various aspects of contemporary culture.