Friday, January 26, 2007

Power in Numbers: Eskju Divine "Hold On"

Eskju Divine "Hold On"

dir. by Jessica Laurén

The animation is plastered mostly with dull browns and blacks, with the sky only occasionally flashing a hint of blue hope. What ensues is a complicated array of computer generated explosions of man-made creation - from bridges over water to railroads across countryside. Yet even as these buildings tower around the abode of the natural world, the black birds persist on, flying higher and higher to escape the influence of the ever-present invisible man.

The band sounds almost like early Coldplay but the video is on par with some of Radiohead's finer animated projects. These scenes don't just blend into one another, they melt, splatter and combust from frame to frame. The gradual discoloring of the environment, and the steady flight of the bird, is contrasted with the rapid pace of the editing and drawings early on. But from the depths of the sewers the birds storm back with such speed and resilience that the even the mightiest of technological marvels falls under the weight of a natural struggle for survival (but at the cost of some splashes of red blood-like liquid).

In addition to the aforementioned dullness of the colors, the scenery is intensely bleak and desolate. The only person we see is a white barely noticeable figure that occasionally appears on street corners or on abandoned gravel roads. Whether the figure represents the omniscient, or simply the presence of human "civilization," it's a rather ominous image of hopelessness. But just when you think the birds will succumb to the same feeling (one bird appears similarly white or invisible), they gather as a group and resist.

The most affecting scene of the piece involves a stark shot of a flock of birds flying across the screen vertically. They are almost in a perfect small "v" formation until one bird decides to fly off to the right, on its own, and disrupt the symmetry of the movement. Yet it is in this graceful departure that the bird signifies the importance of free will and individual thought. Instead of flying towards the light it will dip back into the fray to find help and hope in other birds. Through the courage of one, an entire group is inspired to fight back. They won't go south for safety this year, but choose to firmly re-establish their place on earth. Rather than meekly disappearing into the memory of dilapidated buildings, the director asks us to reassert our beauty - which can only be possible through collective effort.

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Depth of Focus Videographies: Radiohead / Bjork / Michael Jackson / Bowie