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Part IV: Judith Butler “Mourning Is A Political Act Amid The Pandemic & Its Disparities”, (2021), Music: Exercise One by Joy Division

"The final video in the group presents an excerpt from an interview with the noted theorist Judith Butler that concisely critiques the social policies and practices made horribly plain by the COVID-19 crises. I am drawn to Butler’s rigorous framing of the value of mourning in the contemporary world. The text presentation is uncoded because the coded version I made rendered the text more abstract, less readable, and undermined its legibility. The abstraction in my view worked to blunt the text’s potential criticality. Musically, I thought Joy Division’s feedback-laden, disturbing “Exercise One” enhanced the dark clarity of the text’s analysis." - Tony Cokes

Formed in 1976 during the wake of the punk explosion in England, Joy Division became the first band in the post-punk movement by later emphasizing not anger and energy but mood and expression, pointing ahead to the rise of melancholy alternative music in the '80s. Though the group's raw initial sides fit the bill for any punk band, Joy Division later incorporated synthesizers (taboo in the low-tech world of '70s punk) and more haunting melodies, emphasized by the isolated, tortured lyrics of its lead vocalist, Ian Curtis. While the British punk movement shocked the world during the late '70s, Joy Division's quiet storm of musical restraint and emotive power proved to be just as important to independent music in the 1980s.

[Verse 1]
When you're looking at life in a strange new room
Maybe drowning soon, is this the start of it all?
Turn on your TV, turn down your pulse
Turn away from it all, it's all getting too much

[Verse 2]
When you're looking at life, deciphering scars
Just who fooled who? Sit still in their cars
The lights look bright when you reach outside
Time for one last ride before the end of it all

Question 5: Peter Saville x Tony Cokes discuss Part IV: Judith Butler “Mourning Is A Political Act Amid The Pandemic & Its Disparities”, (2021), Music: Exercise One by Joy Division

Peter Saville is a graphic designer known predominantly for his edgy work for the music and fashion industries. Saville’s career began in the late 1970s in Manchester, England, at the nascent Factory Records, an independent label that went on to establish rock bands like Joy Division and New Order. Over the decades, his influences have ranged from mid-century modernist painting and classical art to stock imagery and his own old designs. Saville based the album cover for New Order’s Technique (1989) on the work of postwar artist Yves Klein. Although Saville’s designs help sell music and clothes, he is a harsh critic of consumerism and brand obsession. He has been the creative director of his native city of Manchester since 2004.