David Knight - 24th June 2019

Bob Gallagher's latest video for Dublin rock outfit Girl Band is a departure from his previous run of gripping narratives, like the brilliantly off-the-wall Paul - but this is still next-level intense. 

For Shoulderblades, Gallagher collaborates with dancer Oona Doherty, and her performance, veering between unhinged and harrowing, but with hints of impish humour, is a reflection of the sheer power and brooding aggression in the song. Utterly compelling.

BOB GALLAGHER:

When you crack your head open something gets out, but some things get in too.

"This time last year I fractured my skull. I lost my sense of balance, and couldn’t stand up or walk for a while, so I started seeing a different value in movement. That injury also became a narrative focal point I was able to hinge the action around. That kind of forced pause in life can bring you to certain realisations. When you crack your head open something gets out, but some things get in too. 

"I think it’s a real testament to the creative spirit of the band that they encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and attempt to make something with no props or set dressing or conventional narrative, and to try and articulate an idea with dance and movement. It was a challenge to come up with a video of one performer in an empty space and make it feel like you’ve still gone on a journey over 6 minutes. 

"In Oona we found an incredible co-conspirator, who was able to combine the elements, bring life to it and make it into something really mesmerising. I couldn’t imagine any other dancer being able to bring that combination of beauty and violence to the video. She pushed herself in the physicality of her performance, but also emotionally; she could switch from vulnerable to menacing at a speed that would give anyone else whiplash. I also loved how Oona was unphased by the weird combinations of references I’d send her, going from Jim Carrey beating himself up in Liar Liar, to screaming Francis Bacon paintings. 

"The idea grew out of Dara’s reference to the character of Ed Mordake, a man with two faces, so duality was a major theme. I think everyone struggles to some degree with containing themselves in one fixed state or another. It can be a cause of pain and trauma when you feel you have to curate your own nature into one outward version of yourself. There’s a relief in allowing yourself to be in flux. 

"There’s a line from Rilke that articulates this better than I can, that goes: ‘it never occurred to me before how many faces there are. There are multitudes of people, but there are many more faces, because each person has several of them'. It was interesting for me to see how well dance allows an idea to live in the abstract so it can remain very open. It can mean what it means to the band, and also what it means to Oona and to myself. Hopefully that translates in a way that people watching it can find something in it to relate to, strange as it may be."

Credits

Costume designerSaileog O'halloran
DirectorBob Gallagher
Production CompanyBold Puppy
Production ManagerMaggie Fagan
Director of PhotographyEvan Barry
Additional PhotographyKevin Minogue
EditorJohn Cutler
Editing companyMotherland
ColouristMatt Branton
Grading companyWindmill Lane
Production designerMolly O'cathain
ProducerBob Gallagher
Hair & Make-upBer Drennan
SFX Make-upBobby McGlynn
VFXCian McKenna
Lighting DesignerJason Foran
GafferStephen Mccarthy
Focus PullerCris Ayoub
Camera AssistantCamila Gomes
2nd ACLaurent Murray
Lead actorOona Doherty
Director's RepresentationJohn Hassay
Other creditsTechnocrane Operated by Philip Murphy, Marty Walsh and Stevie Nourse Transport - Cal Folger Day Stills Photographer - Mella Travers Playback Operator - Stephen Tiernan Catering - Red Bird Cafe Choreography by Bob Gallagher Filmed at Kite Film Studios, Co. Wicklow Grip services by Celtic Grips Camera Equipment supplied by Failsafe and Vast Valley Thanks to the staff of the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh, The Artsland Project Artist Residency, Arts Council Northern Ireland and Fermanagh Omagh District Council, Sarah O'Reilly at Fierce Fitness, The Darkroom Dublin, Marie Denham, John McKeown, Siobhan Kane, Bryan Quinn, Conor O'Brien, Stephen Shami, John O'Donoghue, Paddy Cunningham, Bernie Kirrane, Ross Killeen and Shayne Murphy.

David Knight - 24th June 2019

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