Squid 'Pamphlets' by Raman Djafari
David Knight - 21st May 2021
Raman Djafari creates a masterpiece of slow-burning tension and wonder, featuring a hero for the age, for the much-lauded Brighton alt-rock outfit Squid's eight minute epic Pamphlets.
The animator, who works in both 2D and 3D, now applies his distinctive graphic style to build the three-dimensional world of a devilish-looking fellow. He is blue-suited, blue-lipped and nailed - and with mini-horns - but appearances turn out to be deceptive. He is trapped within his domestic space, looking out into a crowded world, unable to join in.
Due to the wonderful attention to detail in the animation that suggests stop-motion even as it must be made digitally, Djafari (aided by character animation and rigging by Barney Abrahams) orchestrates his progress through his isolation to transformation, with occasional nuggets of cartoon magic, and finally to a transcendent metamorphosis.
In the gradual pacing and the focus on the character of this existential hero, Djafari allows the complex art-rock sound of Squid to fill the gaps in providing the drama. And it all comes together in a brilliant climax. The blue devil changes physically - but its also clear that this is the emergence of a new state of self-empowerment.
I wanted to explore a state of mind that I have found myself in many times.
"The video for Pamphlets is a meditation on the feeling of being unfit, unlovable, not compatible and the manic anxiety and stress that this results in.
"I wanted to explore a state of mind that I have found myself in many times. It is the fear of going outside and forcibly being confronted with everything that one cannot love about themselves, because they have been taught not to. This is a video that relates to my own experiences as well as it is a solidarisation with everyone that has felt this way.
"The second half of the video is about the emergence from that state of mind through the embrace of difference. It is a process that I myself am still very much going through and learning from, so it is also a reminder and an exercise in empowerment.
"The transformation that happens when we learn to love ourselves is a detachment from the ideals of normativity. Loving the difference, that which is perceived as ugly and rotten, is beautiful. There is an awe-inspiring power in this process. It is one that I have been blessed to witness in people around me and that I find deeply inspiring wherever I see it. All of these people that survive and reemerge are beautiful wonders that I admire deeply. They all are glowing in front of the sun, undeniably great and transcendent.
Ollie Judge's vocals directly inspired the design of my protagonist.
"I feel blessed to have been trusted by Squid and Warp Records to make this video. The track has a pressing urgency that guided me throughout the process and the lyrics felt like a call to action. Sung by the fierce voice of Ollie Judge the vocals directly inspired the design of my protagonist. (The moment when Ollie’s voice is spoken through the mouth of the protagonist still feels magical to me.) They are a person, a creature, a beautiful beast, vulnerable and powerful at the same time, they are what I hope to be.
"Animated and brought to life with the help of the great Barney Abrahams, who did a large part of the character animation and rigging in the video, I aimed to create a character that possesses an aura and presence that is felt even in moments of stillness."
David Knight - 21st May 2021