Bill Jones and Ben Neill, Ice Cream, 2002, single channel video from networked music/video performance, 2:01 minutes duration.


The music business has changed radically in the digital age. Profit from CD sales or downloads has all but disappeared. Today the only money being made by producers and musical artists is through licensing for commercials or video games etc and to a lesser extent through performing. I watched it change during my 15 year music/video collaboration with Ben Neill.  Ben was fortunate to have had the opportunity to create his music specifically for a VW ad campaign called “Drivers Wanted.” These weren’t jingles in the typical sense but 20 second loops in his inimitable musical style. This was unusual and innovative since the standard for commercial licensing had been for snippets of very popular music already in play.

After completing the spots, Ben decided to extend each theme for each commercial into a full length composition. The result was the album “Automotive.” Subsequently, for the tour (at various House of Blues venues across the US),  Ben and I manipulated and remixed the VW spots live through our networked performance set up and the experimental pioneering VJ software Image/ine.

I’d been interested and influenced by the short form narrative aspects of print and video advertising for many years. One early work (seen below) from 1970 is based on a photo I shot of a VW bug in a showroom in West Vancouver, then overlaid the area of the photo showing the car body with glossy laminate. I titled it “8×10 semi-glossy” and sent it out as mail art. It precedes and prefigures my Landscape series in which the window areas are covered by shaped glass.


Bill Jones, 8 x 10 semi glossy, 1970, silver print with reflective overlay, 8x10 in.
Bill Jones, 8 x 10 semi glossy, 1970, silver print with reflective overlay, 8×10 in.


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