Aural/Oral Risk

Asphixiation: Aural/Oral Risk - 3' 29" stereo © 1982


Aural/Oral Risk is a music-video for a track from the Asphixiation LP "What is this thing called 'Disco'?".



Script, direction & editing - Philip Brophy
Lighting - Kim Beissel
Studio - Open Channel, Melbourne


Philip Brophy, Maria Kozic, Ralph Traviato, Jayne Stevenson


A ROCK'N'ROLL VIDEO SHOW - Australian National Gallery, Canberra


Art Gallery of Western Australia


A MELBOURNE MOOD - COOL CONTEMPORARY ART - Australian National Gallery, Canberra
Collection purchase - Australian National Gallery, Canberra
SUPER-8/VIDEO OVERLOAD, Glasshouse Theatre, Melbourne
VIDEOS FROM AUSTRALIA - Time Based Arts, Amsterdam


Music video produced for Innocent Records, Melbourne


Release of track on the LP "What is this thing called 'Disco'?"


Original recording of track for the performance work "What is this thing called 'Disco'?"

Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne


If the early '80s musically was about the consolidation of post-punk on the verge of splitting off into either dance/club culture or revivalist/noisy rock rejuvenation, Asphixiation must have been inhabiting a parallel universe. There, Disco still glowed - not in bright hedonistic blasts of chemically-aided colours, but as a soft swathe of pastels. Perverse on multiple levels, the music-video for Aural/Oral Risk creates the sensation of Disco as a hybrid of Muzak, Easy Listening, muted funk and amateurish melodic refrains. Framed by the ironic meta-textual lyrics of Ralph Traviato and the regurgitated discophonics of Philip, Aural/Oral Risk softly intones an inability to even spell the word 'zeitgeist'.

The music-video is a po-faced assimilation of classic Hollywood musical stage logistics - particularly the work of Gene Kelly who pioneered a 'choreography for the camera'. Aural/Oral Risk clinically traverses, intersects and cross-cuts its void studio space with a series of 'poses in motion'. Bereft of sex and sweat, it gently drowns in its own stylistics: the perfect strategy for pop discourse. Special effort was made to ensure that every shot contained completely unrealistic musical mechanics: none of the instruments except the sax relate to the audible sounds of the record. As with the 'live' performance of Asphixiation, no leads are visible.

Video stills © 1982


The colour palette for the music-video was based on the costumes worn for the 'live' performances of Asphixiation in 1981: a mix of black& white formal attire with pale pink. Think a debutante ball as depicted in a Vincente Minnelli musical from the mid '50s. In a white studio, lighting operator Kim Beissel set up a series of pastel splashes against bare walls.

The script was story-boarded precisely in conjunction with mobile TV camera moves. No post-production effects were employed. A stocking was placed on the camera lens for a classic softening effect.

Video stills © 1982