Monday, April 23, 2007

Where the Heart Is: The Western States Motel "Powerlines"

Sometimes finding home is as easy as stealing from motels...

The Western States Motel "Powerlines" (Hi-Res)

dir. by Rylan Strader

This charming video is filled with vibrant colors, sweet melodies and magical suitcases as it tells its tale of life on the road for one-man band Carl Jordan. The "traveling song" is of course a singer-songwriter mainstay, but director Rylan Strader adds a personal touch which makes this a better-than-average vision - and the perfect introduction to a new musician. He simultaneously references the name of the band while using motels to expound on the themes of a constantly roaming soul.

While the protagonist here is a man obsessed with collecting (and stealing) random objects from every room he inhabits, he finds his many suitcases leave him unfulfilled without a permanent place to lay them. On the doorknob of each pastel room he enters he places a "do not disturb" sign. It isn't just that he fears getting caught in his kleptomania, but he is in many ways afraid to let anyone "in" on a personal level - he holds his privacy as the only real definition he has.

When he finally does settle on an abandoned barn in the middle of nowhere, he pulls everything out and recreates the same setting he has faced for years. It was never about the physical environment for the singer; home is far more elusive concept than a roof and a door. In a sense it's a constantly changing phenomenon, and something you recreate in every moment. But the sense of comfort and safety which "home" can provide, is in fact something that comes from within. Thus he throws his suitcase out the door - no longer scouring the globe for false warmth - and places a new sign on his doorknob, "The Western States Motel." It's through his music and art that he has finally found a sense of self and security.

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