Music video for Dark0’s release Xenotype on Adult Swim.
Thanks to Nica Harrison, Robin Porter, Daniel Swan, Olive Angelique, Caroline Brouard.
When I started working with Dark0 on this piece, we set off trying to make an action movie using supercar and speed-culture videos from youtube and game footage. Youtube has users who film themselves breaking the law; videos like Police vs Audi RS6 Best chase ever HIGHWAY! from Sweden and Ghostrider in France show users deliberately getting chased by police to film it and driving in fantastic and dangerous ways. I wanted to use this footage because as it was already showing something illegal IRL- the users had to remain anonymous and could not profit from it so borrowing their footage to turn it into a film seemed legally insignificant when the people involved had endangered life for an extreme ego stroke. The footage serves as a direct recording of a hypermale fantasy feedback loop, documenting the blurred lines between action movie, computer game and reality- where people with an addiction to speed, excess and adrenaline define their freedom.
Through exploring different subcultures focused around speed that youtube hosted, I became fascinated with the gender aspects of the material. Through golddigger videos and in-car reaction videos, users often appear to use their cars to torment women; using the spectacle the alien form of a lamborghini to lure then directly berate women who want to travel in it or slowing down female passengers reactions to acceleration to create uncanny valley facial drama. I wanted to use techniques borrowed from the fantasy worlds speed culture intersects with and invert the focus to create a kind of elusive feminist revenge film.
The footage of the female faces comes from a video where a woman tries on different pairs of “baddie” sunglasses, and a video of a hijabi cosplayer as Harley Quinn. I wanted to take these two users- who were superficially pretending to be supervillains; characters created by worlds with endemic violence; and give them a little bit of the VFX that Hollywood uses to take them further into the action movie fantasy. By working within this frame of part action-film part hyperactive video essay, I began to see youtube as a vast resource of potential films- as long as you’re prepared to factor in other people’s egos and their subtext as the primary material you can find every aspect of human experience.
Beyond this, there is no plot, just a continual series of plot elements that are designed to link you to the next, hopefully exactly long enough for you to realise that everyone involved has been deceived, just like a Marvel film.
Rob Heppell, 30 October 2017