Several months ago, Sigur Rós added a new video to their collection for the valtari mystery film experiment. Hypnotizing to watch and contemplative.
Is he trying to shape himself? Or is he wrestling with the mass, unable to free himself or unwilling to let it go? It isn’t a simple film.
I was able to catch up with the director of the video, Anafelle Liu, who, along with art director Dio Lau and photographer Ken Ngan, created the film that won the Creative Invite, to ask her some about the project.
TH: How long have you been making films? What do you do professionally?
Anafelle: It was the first time three of us make film together. We met each other since we were in university. Dio is an art director and graphic designer. Ken is a fashion photographer. I am a motion graphic designer, animator and illustrator so I have been making animations for 6 years.
TH: What was the inspiration to connect the music of “fjögr piánó” with the imagery in your video? Can you give a little more of your thoughts on your description of the work “It is a glimpse of the corporeal unconscious, forever trapped in Lacan’s double sided mirror”? The imagery is startling, and fits that idea, I was just curious how you came to visualize it like this?
It’s like an inner space in which you are naked and so you can confront your own naked self.
Anafelle: To us, Sigur Rós’ music is always introspective. It’s like it creates a spiritual space inside us in which we feel safe. Safety not quite in the sense of being covered, but the reverse—it’s like an inner space in which you are naked and so you can confront your own naked self. So for the video, we wanted the energy to be pointing inward rather than out. My first thought was body modification—things like cosmetic surgery, bodybuilding, and all that. Those transfiguration techniques are nothing new, but the ideology behind them is always changing. We try to capture this ambivalence of trying to break free from ourselves and our desires but being inevitably unable get the way out of it. The tension and anxiety in it is penetrating. We wanted to generate the same intensity of struggling but in a relatively serene way.
We wanted to generate the same intensity of struggling but in a relatively serene way
TH: Who do you find as inspiration for you when you work? This can be artists, filmmakers, musicians…
Anafelle: [Choreographer] Pina Bausch, [philosopher] Slavoj Žižek, [photographer] Juergen Teller, [filmmaker] Jan Svankmajer, [author] Haruki Murakami…
TH: How do you like to work? Is it planned from beginning to end or do you interpret things as you work?
If I were Adrian I’d probably be mad, and we intended to drive him bit lunatic too
Anafelle: We didn’t plan till the very end. The process is very organic. Everything grows, we feel about it and make response to it. Though its all unintentional, or intentionally unintentional it ended up to be. Like what is mentioned before the project was initially a reflection of the body modification, where Dio drafted a set of rather symbolic movements for it. After our choreographer Cliff was in, he insisted that we shouldn’t dictated our performer Adrian’s moves, since he’s not trained for it. Instead we should bring him to the state he could go, pull the trigger for him, and push him to both edges of highs and lows of his state. So I have to work very closely with our camera man Kai Ho to capture every moment. It was an interesting process really. Most of the time Adrian was performing with his eyes closed. Cliff induced Adrian’s move much like he was hypnotising him. Then we play music and illustrated an imaginary scene to contain him, sometimes violently provoked or even animalized him, sometimes calm him in soft and comforting voice. When he was performing even the air of the shooting studio was heavier. If I were Adrian I’d probably be mad, and we intended to drive him bit lunatic too. We didn’t plan to do it this way but we are quite happy with the result.
TH: What would be a dream project for you?
Anafelle: Any project with time and freedom and with the right team. Of course this is one of the dream project with Sigur Ros!