What do you do when, and I quote, “the world’s culture is having sex with itself”? The only viable answer to a remark like that, it would seem, is to make art, experiment, and make use of a mind that’s “so full of rubbish absorbed from the Internet”. Well, if only everything we waste our time looking at on the Internet would turn into something so substantial — most of us just retain cat videos and 150 character tweets. Take a look at the video for of Montreal‘s “Spiteful Intervention” and tell me that aint genius.
The video was constructed by filmmaker and multimedia storyteller, Jesse Ewles. He literally hand-painted the illustrations-cum-animations (with a little help from friends Lee Stringle and Cameron Tomsett), and then mapped them to 3D meshes using Autodesk Maya.
“The first few times I listened to the song, I was focusing on the poppy rhythm of the piano and the change at 1:39,” Jesse told us this week. “Both reminded me of the Beatles White Album for some reason… anyways, I completely missed how dark the lyrics actually were.”
The world built around the dynamic style-shifting song is one of a pulsating, metamorphic state-of-mind — that doesn’t stay within the sound of the video, but creeps right into bed with you. of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes’ face features strongly in the video, before it gets wildly distorted and manic. Jesse says he wanted to create “dark and creepy” images to match the lyrics, which makes sense when you’re trying to convey the lyrics “It’s fucking sad that we need a tragedy to occur to gain a fresh perspective in our lives, and I spend my waking hours haunting my life.”
“The song’s all about self-loathing and battling dark thoughts, so I felt having Kevin’s head morph into various creatures would be the simplest, and most fun way to illustrate that idea,” Jesse said.
“I think the colours, the loose painting and the bounciness of the images, combined with how sad all of the drawings look, matched the song pretty well.”
If you thought the video was a bit creepy clown-like (and it freaks you out), then good! It’s meant to. Jesse cites that some of the imagery that influenced the video were the Black Velvet clowns, Giuseppe Arcimboldo‘s fruit-arranged-like-faces, and William Blake’s Divine Comedy. His hectic experimentation stems from the seed of the music, and imagining “a world growing out of it”.
And that’s the thing — everything is growing out of everything. It’s breeding, it’s creating. The digital is mixing with analog, and as the old and new come together awesome shit like this is made. Jesse’s influence from the internet, traditional art, film and the online world is clear in his work and the way her approaches his projects. He doesn’t want to just create more animation, or more live action — he wants to create a form where both of these can co-exist. Mixing fantasy and absurdity, with the natural and the digital.
“My work is filled with the mutts that are created when when the world’s culture begins to have sex with itself and spawn mutants,” Jesse says. “My videos are experiments, never intended for mass production.”
“The Internet is changing the way we absorb media, and the amount of attention we devote to pieces of it. It will be interesting to see which stories are best told through mobile devices and in short formats.”