On Man 'Squares And Triangles' by Ian Roderick Gray
Ian Roderick Gray's enigmatic and gripping video for British producer On Man centres around a disfigured young man locked into a nightmarish, perpetual pursuit by unseen assailants.
It takes visual cues from the unsettling body horror of Cronenberg and combines them with the dark and surreal atmosphere of Lynch to create a haunting visual that matches the ominous tone of Squares and Triangles.
IAN RODERICK GRAY:
We wanted to place the audience right in the action, making them feel as though they too were trapped in this endless, nightmarish pursuit.
"When On Man first sent me Squares and Triangles, I was blown away by the originality of the composition and the deeply unsettling feeling that the song evoked. To me, the creative possibilities were endless because the music was inherently cinematic. And to make it more exciting, On Man had a very clear idea for how he wanted to approach the visuals to his music, and not just for this song, but for all of the music videos made for the soon-to-be-released album. He wanted to blur the lines between Music Videos, Art and Cinema. The idea was to create three to four visuals, that were all tied together by a consistent theme and narrative thread. If watched as a collective, it would hopefully become apparent that these visuals all belonged in the same universe.
"The idea with Squares and Triangles was to take a minimalist approach to the storytelling, letting our amazing actor Charlie Baker, tell the story through the power of his performance. We decided to incorporate a deliberately lo-fi and stripped back aesthetic to give the piece an urgency and rawness that was consistent with the music. We wanted to place the audience right in the action, making them feel as though they too were trapped in this endless, nightmarish pursuit, with no escape in sight. That meant using handheld over a gimbal and Anthony Dias, our DOP, spent a lot of time running backwards, at impressive speeds, whilst operating the Alexa!
"Inspired partly by the graphic novel Black Hole by Charles Burns, we made a decision early on to give the protagonist some kind of unspecified mutation or facial disfigurement, that would tease some context to the pursuit. We were extremely lucky to work with Suzi Battersby at Red Girl FX, who created the prosthetics and made something that is both otherworldly and somehow naturalistic. The idea was to make the audience feel guilty about finding the facial disfiguration uncomfortable to look at and I think Suzi really succeeded.
"We applied a very subtle VHS effect in post and scuffed the visuals as far as possible, to give the film a kind of body horror, “video nasties” feel, showing occasional flashes of Charlie’s disfigured and terrified face, blown up to fill the screen.
"The collaboration with On Man has been really fulfilling and creatively challenging. Squares and Triangles is a really simple piece, but hopefully we have succeeded in making something original, ominous and evocative!"
|Director||Ian Roderick Gray|
|Production Company||Grayscale Productions|
|Executive Producer||Andrew Harvey-Gannon|
|Production Manager||Rebecca Murray|
|1st AD||Laura Prast|
|Director of Photography||Anthony Dias|
|Focus Puller||Tom Reid|
|Editor||Ian Roderick Gray|
|VFX||Red Girl FX|
|Lead actor||Charlie Baker|
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