Saturday, September 4, 2010

Arcade Fire & spatializing your home town


This posting is not particularly relevant to 19th century American literature, but interesting in relation to our course and its focus on spaces. The band Arcade Fire has a new "video" which actually a web device that asks for your hometown and splices images of it into a video about adolescent feelings about the place you grew up. You can comment on it as well for credit on the blog.


  1. My video;,+Corona,+CA+92879,+USA

    (This is one of five places I've lived, but has the best images on Google maps.)

    Well, first off this site was really cool. I haven't seen a music video this personalized before, and I think it's a good use of Google's spy satellites!

    The video allows the user to recall memories of the street where they live. It's really just a set of pictures on Google maps (space) but with your memories it a becomes sentimental or nostalgic place. By being able to share it, I think it becomes a place to others as well.

    My favorite part was the trees growing out of everything at the end. Thanks for posting this, it was definitely interesting!


    This is my parent's home where I grew up.

    I found the video extremely interesting, and I agree with Caitlin about putting the spy satellites to good use. I found that the video played with space and place. The video starts out with a man running down the middle of a street. This is a familiar image and one the viewer easily comprehends, but it is just a space, because we have never ran down this particular street, just ones like it. Then the pictures of my home began to pop up. This made it feel as though the man in the video was running to my home, and thus away from a space and towards a place.

    Another thing I found interesting was that Google had used two separate images of my home from two different time periods. The helicopter view of my house was different from the side angle view of my house (I could tell because of the cars in the driveway). This helped enforce the lyrics, because two separate time periods were used and the lead vocalist is speaking in the past tense. The video then asks the viewer to interact with the video and write a postcard to a younger you. This only serves to make the video more nostalgic and cement its place rather than its space, because I was trying to impart wisdom to a past me, which no longer exists.

    All in all, I thought this video was really cool, and I am glad you shared it on the blog.

  3. What was most striking, to me at least, in this film was the opportunity at the end to write a letter to your old self. A lot of the song revolves around a letter that was never written to someone, and I think the idea of a missed childhood opportunity resonates with a lot of people, albeit not likely in the form of a letter. When the blank letter was put in front of me, after having seen my childhood world, my identification with that place, with my former world, was incredibly strong. Something about seeing my home with that song playing was powerfully nostalgic. What advice would I give to the Me sitting in that house? What advice would I give? Would I honestly want to do anything different.

    Those are a lot of powerful questions to arise from a music video.

  4. Well I LOVE Arcade Fire and had yet to see this video, so I'll jump on the bandwagon and say thanks for sharing it!

    The address I typed in was that of the house I lived in throughout elementary school until the sixth grade. Seeing the man running in the music video, I felt the same excitement I felt a few years ago when my parents and I did a "drive by" of the house. We wanted to go back and see what was the same, what was different, to get a feel of who lived there currently, etc. I loved how the video showed the surrounding houses before my old house too, it made it more emotional and dramatic.

    With that being said, I think it's interesting how emotional looking at/thinking about/seeing our old houses really is for us. The house I live in now (my parent's house) is much bigger and nicer than the one I grew up in, and it has definitely become a place for me, but it will never be the same as the house I google-earthed for the video (because if it was, wouldn't I have put in that address?).

    What an interesting video concept!

  5. I think this "video" is an extremely interesting concept. I love Arcade Fire and their new album Suburbs is an abum that deals with growing up and moving to the suburbs and starting your adult life, but also feeling nostalgiac for their younger days as children, and I think as college students, this is something that is very relatable to us. Most of us have moved away from home and we're close to graduating and starting a new part of our life, and remembering the past and childhood is a great way to go back tot hose days. This video does a great job of using a space as a place and also reinforces the idea that emotional connectivity is important to whether or not a location is remembered as a space or a place. If someone has moved around their entire life, or recently moved, this video may not have any emotion or nostalgia attached to it and these houses are seen as just that, a house and not a home.


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