The Road and Lawless director John Hillcoat has teamed up with L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art to produce an experimental art video short on the museum's new YouTube channel, MOCAtv.
The film, Berlin, It’s All a Mess, is a collaboration between Hillcoat, his wife, artist/photographer Polly Borland, and Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika of the band IO ECHO.
The video is a pastiche of Asian-infused, found-footage imagery (waves crashing, women in cheongsams) all set to the tune of the band's melancholic song detailing heartbreak and loss. Bandmates Ross and Gika make appearances throughout the video as masked figures — something that's very prominent in Borland's photography — creating a sense of ambiguity and distortion. Many faces in the found footage video get distorted as well: Some faces get flipped upside down, while others light up in flames.
All together, the video creates a sense of otherworldliness, which the collaborators portray through a surrealist lens.
After co-curating the museum's PLAY MOCA multimedia arts festival this past summer, Ross and Gika were approached to create the collaborative work for MOCAtv, which Ross describes as a “new platform they were developing and for the launch they were hoping to combine visual artists with musicians to create original content.”
Next, Ross and Gika met Hillcoat and Borland through mutual friends, kick-starting the found-footage-inspired project. “It happened very organically and the result was very organic. It almost seemed effortless, which is rare in this day and age,” Borland says.
The creative duos bonded over their interest in surrealism.
“Both Polly and I thrive on surrealism. You wouldn’t pick it up in my films," says Hillcoat, "but it lurks there in subtle forms."
Adds Gilka: “We wanted it to feel not like a traditional music video but rather as an audio, visual collaboration that is its own unique piece as opposed to something that might have more traditionally in the past been just a platform for the musician.”
“Berlin, It’s All a Mess” will be available for viewing on the MOCAtv YouTube channel beginning today. Watch the video bellow: