these are the days

It’s no secret that punk rock is largely misunderstood in modern times. Everyone seems to focus on the moshing, the thrashing, the substance abuse, and they miss what it was that really used to hold punk rock together: the idea of close, familial bonds. Whether it was between the band members themselves or between the fans, or in the community as a whole, the punk scene is really close-knit and more caring than their gravity-defying hairstyles let on.

Matt Stokes, a British artist inspired by punk rock subcultures, capitalized on this untapped idea in his film installation, 'These Are the Days.' Though on a national scale punk rock has largely ceased to exist in its rawest form, the true anti-establishment music still thrives in local scenes.

Stokes bases his project on the music scene in Austin, Texas, and the relationship between old and new punk communities. His project consists of two films: the first focuses on event footage from a show, enabling the viewer to see both the band performing and the way the audience responds to that performance, and in the second film, he closes in on the band members’ reaction to the audience’s response. Stokes’ focal point is the relationship between performance and reaction – between band member and audience member. His execution of this idea is flawless in many ways, one of them being that the response of a crowd is all that many punk bands are playing for, which is such a refreshing and radically different goal than many of today’s bands, whose intentions are largely profit or fame. Stokes’ inspiring installation really proves that the glory days for music are not over; under the radar, the camaraderie of music still exists.

Matt Stokes: these are the days
Now thru December 19, 2009
516 West 20th Street
New York City
Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm

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