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By David Finkelstein | February 27, 2007

“Driven” is assembled from scenes of highway driving, screen shots of video games (both games which simulate driving and other, more violent games), and shots from a video arcade. The extremely short (less than one second) shots are usually arranged in a repeating rhythmic pattern, giving the video a pleasingly “driving” rhythmic energy. The soundtrack, assembled from the sounds of windshield wipers, ambient street sounds, and the video games, follows a similar rhythmic pattern.

The imagery seemed first of all to refer to the kind of visual experience one has while driving; that of trying to look simultaneously in many directions at once by constantly shifting one’s view. The juxtaposition of real driving, in which one must remain constantly alert or else risk violent injury, with the virtual reality of video games, in which one gets addictively high on unreal violence, was striking. A transition to images from more explicitly violent games seemed to refer to the way that media culture in general has the effect of anesthetizing the populace to violence by saturating the social space with unreal images of violence, thus creating an overall sense of unreality. But, then again, the wars which are made acceptable because of a passive, anesthetized populace are being fought to support our addiction to driving. Near the video’s end, there is an image of a jazzed-up, tranced-out boy, dancing around while riveted to a game console, whose mother can’t get his attention. This image is truly scary; the very image of addiction. The video’s final shot is of the baby bouncing in one of those bungee baby seats. It seemed to be a coda which once again referred to an infantilized, blissed out population of idiots. (Also known as Americans.) “Driven” successfully weaves together a succession of images and sounds which, taken together, evoke a powerful web of interrelated ideas and experiences.

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