Design-driven video montage was Kanye West’s answer to being restricted to a five-word speech
Kanye West was honoured at this week’s 20th Annual Webby Awards with the ‘Artist Of The Year’ award, in recognition of the social media phenom’s pioneering use of the internet and his impact on the music landscape. The ceremony’s rules limit the winners’ acceptance speeches to five words, presenting West, who’s known for his lengthy orations, with a challenge. Houses in Motion, the Brooklyn-based animation and production studio, crafted an animation-driven retrospective of the artist’s year, with a video montage that includes abstract design elements, graphics, skewed images, and samplings of the artist’s tweets. West’s ambitious mission and signature bluster come through in the stream of consciousness style of the visual story - which closes with his judicious choice of the five-words allotted to him, ‘I can’t stand short speeches,’ making clear his feelings about brevity.
The piece is a visualisation of Kanye West’s past year using a mix of elements and samplings of bold imagery. Taking their cues from West’s powerful use of the internet, and its disruptive impact on the status quo the music scene, Houses used glitches and distortion techniques to texture the images and create the look of an environment that’s deconstructing and evolving.
Houses in Motion had just a week to take the project from concept to delivery. Helmed by the studio’s partners, executive producers/creative directors, John Earle and Dan DeGloria, Houses’ team designed, directed, animated and edited the video – and even curated the tweets, with the guidance of Webby’s Director of Creative Content, Jeff Zemetis.
The custom sound design created by Explosion Robinson blew the top off this frenetic montage, setting the pace of the video with a conglomeration of hip-hop, electronica, and experimental music styles. Sound designers Stephen Hermann and Mauricio Escamilla sampled West’s latest album, ‘The Life of Pablo,’ (the first album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts based primarily on streaming,) grabbing melodic and instrumental elements and remixed them to create an original sound. Live drumming was added to the track to drive fast tempo.