Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Haunted House: Karin Strom "Klaustrofobi"

Techno beats trapped in the dark walls of cinema and human psychology...

Karin Strom "Klaustrofobi"

dir. by Tobias Annerhult

Though it might help if we had the lyrics translated, it doesn't seem to be a stretch to suggest this is a video about suppression and confinement. These are people who seem to be on the edge - at their individual breaking points. Even the smallest details, like a tentative hand movement or the sparseness of the set design, imply nervous loneliness. The grainy quality of the film even gives an impression that these characters are literally stuck within the frames of the camera. Yet there is something in both the music and the performance, from a small smile on a skinny girl to Karin Strom emerging from water, that also suggest the possibility of breaking through these fears of enclosure.

In one particularly haunting shot we see the eyes and forehead of a man at the top of the screen, and then seemingly within his body - where his chest should be - we see the same man hunched over with his back facing the screen. The video begins with a faint image of a woman, almost as if behind the pictures on the screen, and then ends with a blunter version of the same thing. In the begining we also see one woman split in two - or perhaps two women blurred into one - struggling to separate and connect.

The director seems to be saying that we all have inner faces or "sides" which we hide in response to social pressures, but occasionally they push themselves out. Or conversely we create inner models or ideals for ourselves (also based on societal pressures) which end up clashing with what we see in the mirror daily (for one brief second we see Strom as a blond). Yet if we continue to keep them claustrophobically hidden under our skin, they have the potential of emerging in frightening ways. Furthermore, our insecurities over these inner thoughts are precisely why we walk around in such tentative fear all the time.


Karin said...

>Though it might help if we had the lyrics translated

You can find translations to Karin Ströms lyrics on:


The translation of "Klaustrofobi" is as follows:

still locked up in your unlighted house
lips of yours kiss my unconscious mouth

my resistance is spent, I'm sucked into your desolated sphere
I give up in my servitude of always wanting to be near

and I wake from my sleep, it is you in my dream and you act perfectly
gone is the one thing I wish you would be

you're still here though you're reported dead
hitting back through covers of my bed

Obtusity said...

Thanks a lot for the lyrics, they really shed further light on the video. I think our interpretation still works but the theme of love and infatuation is something we completely missed without the words.

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