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date: 20 November 2019

Devolocked

  • Theo Cateforis

Extract

Rock band. They are best known as one of rock’s most conceptual and innovative multimedia bands, a reputation they gained through their use of bizarre costumes and props, experimental music videos, and absurdist yet incisive social commentary. The group formed in Akron, Ohio, in the early 1970s, when its two main members, Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, were both students in the Kent State University School of Art. They took the name Devo from the idea of de-evolution, a vague theory freely culled from such pop culture sources as comic books, science fiction cinema, and sensationalist anthropological literature, which asserted that the human race was devolving rather than evolving. Devo’s five members emphasized this de-evolution by appearing in matching utilitarian outfits and posing in stiff, robotic gestures that highlighted their dehumanized and alienated state. To this visual display they added an arsenal of alternately grotesque and disorienting masks, ranging from a hairy ape to an oversized infant head, all of which served to accent even further their view of society as a denaturalized and strangely surreal place. All of these elements appeared prominently in their music films, beginning with the dada-esque short ...

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