videoThunderheist & Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head by That Go
These two videos go back a bit - the halcyon days of 2008 - and you may know them from various 'best of' lists elsewhere. But it's only right and proper to give a shout-out on Promo to the dynamic directing duo that is That Go.
That Go are Noel Paul and Stefan Moore, who met on the DXARTS program at the University of Washington (where Noel is still a PhD candidate) and began their partnership when they entered a video competition for then-unsigned band Thunderheist's Jerk It - with a video featuring a blonde girl called Anna, a rooster called Caleb, and a considerable amount of jerking.
Their work has even been identified as being emblematic of the "dead end of western civilization" - possibly due to the scary use of cheesy pop on the interactive site accompanying the NPSH vid. In which case: bring it on!
They now have a new video for New York band Apes & Androids, for which they've made this brief teaser. And below Noel and Stefan discuss their two videos to date.
That Go on making the video for Thunderheist's Jerk It
"We found out about Thunderheist's video contest right before it ended and decided it was too late to get something together in time for the deadline. Thus defeated, we kicked around some ideas for what we 'would have done' and came up with a concept so intriguing that it seemed worth actually pursuing.
"We then immediately found a generous rooster owner on a web forum for people who raise chickens and our friend Mike Ragen volunteered his camera (Mike DoP'd Matt Daniels' vids Lolita & Caskets). Our friend Anna agreed to model. The whole thing came together very quickly. The contest was ending the day after we shot, so we spent the night cutting together a teaser to send to Thunderheist. They liked it enough to extend the deadline.
"We wanted the video to be simple and iconic, so we kept the ingredients minimal and concentrated on the incremental development of a single idea. The video acts as a bit of a rorschach, people's reactions to it tend to reveal a lot. We certainly don't deny that the use of the rooster lends itself to provocative interpretations and a certain blatant joke, but to be honest we didn't really focus on that while writing.
"The initial concept had more to do with body motion and the desire to make something that looked as hot as the song is. We wanted to take the hip hop video cliché of the jiggling booty and treat it in a way that was abstract and humorous, focusing on body parts that are less traditionally objectified such as the underarm, shoulder, and cheeks. We wanted to shake these body parts until the motion reached heights that were both sexually charged and comically absurd.
"To achieve this effect our friend Eric designed a shaking mechanism that Anna held in her hand just off camera. It worked well. Crazy looking shocks reverberated through her whole body at very high speed. It was all captured at 120fps and then we retimed the footage to match the beat in post. The video premiered on pitchfork.tv. It has since received more attention than we ever imagined."
That Go on making the video for NPSH's Sophisticated Side Ponytail
"Natalie Portman's Shaved Head are wonderful people and we love working with them. We wanted to create a sensory overload of pop-culture iconography within a rapid time frame. Aesthetically, we tried to combine a rap video performance style with the hypothetical contents of a 14 year old girl's hard drive.
"Our friends Mollie & Matthew helped us by making collages and then we combined them into huge geodesic Quicktime VRs which we screen-captured for the backgrounds of the video. Some of these backgrounds can be examined in more detail at the Ponytail Web Zone. In addition, net artist jpegmess was very generous in allowing us to sample his spirit arcs through the spectrum.
"The reaction to the video has been pleasingly controversial. It received praise from fashion designers, media artists, and bloggers like Perez Hilton. Cahiers du Cinema mentioned the video with the remark that 'Internet est un accélérateur de vie.'
"At the same time, we released the video right around when that adbusters article about "hipsters" being the "dead end of western civilization" came out. A lot of bloggers identified our video as emblematic of that article's thesis. Alex Blagg of VH1's "Best Week Ever" said: "This Video Might Mark The Exact Moment That Our Culture Finally Died...It's pretty amazing how something with so much visible stimulus can manage to say absolutely nothing. Way to go, hipsters." This was very exciting feedback for us."
David Knight - 12th Feb 2009