Two Poems, after Vermeer and Chardin
“Radioactive,” written by Imagine Dragons and released in 2012, is one of the most electronically influenced tracks in the rock genre. It is rare to come across a contemporary rock song with such strong imagery and apocalyptic and revolutionary themes. It never fails to take off and the send fists skyward. The heavy drum use in the song does complete justice to its powerful lyrics.
My main aim was to transpose the electronic and mechanical theme of the song into the painting. Originally, the transposed theme was intended to have a more negative, rushed vibe of the urban life in New York city. The heavy electronic music of the song along with its lyrics (“I’m breaking up,” “radioactive,” “the new age”) was meant to correspond with the anxious scream of the industrialized human, the machinery emerging out of his head, and the dour shades of black and white. However, on deeper analysis I discovered that both the song and the painting—individually, as well as collectively—have scope for a positive interpretation in terms of spiritual reawakening of the soul.
Though the painting seems to epitomize the somewhat barbaric mood and explosive atmosphere of the song, there are attributes of the song which were lost in the translation of an aural medium to a visual one. The song resonates more with the themes trying to be conveyed than the painting because it has a confluence of background music and foreground lyrics which amplify the impact on the listener and has a more ‘3-D effect’ than the 2-D painting. Also, a painting the viewer can encounter all at once, whereas a song develops and changes in time, taking the listener along with it through its various sub-moods and phases. Zooming out of the individual compositions, the idea behind the project is best conveyed through the relationship between the works, or in listening to the song as you scroll through the images of the painting. In other words, it’s a ‘Confluence’ of the two that does the job best.