The last clip of The xx to the song “I Dare You” is interesting not only by engagement of an actor from drama series “Stranger Things”, but the shooting location – the Sowden’s house. The building was constructed in 1926 by Frank Lloyd Wright for his friend and artist John Sowden. Wright sought inspiration in architecture of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
The building gained the “creepy” status due to one of its owners. It was a doctor George Hodel. He was a prime suspect in one of the most mysterious and unsolved murders in the United States – the Black Dahlia case. In addition, his daughter Tara Hodel accused him of sexual abuse; nonetheless George Hodel was acquitted. His son Steve Hodel, who became a detective, posthumously made his father the prime suspect in the Black Dahlia case and in committing a number of other murders. Inspired by this crime Brian De Palma shot “The Black Dahlia” movie.
2. Solange on the roof of a “rusty spaceship” by Robert Bruno
Steel House is a construction reminding a four-leg creature or a spaceship. The building was constructed by a sculptor Robert Bruno in steampunk post-apocalyptic style and it should have become his home. It is said that he welded each piece of steel by hand. The weight of the whole construction is about 110 tons; it was being constructed for over 30 years in a row starting from the beginning of construction works in 1973.
The building was not finished during the sculptor’s life. After his death, it was purchased by the Taxes University of Technology for $35,000. Today its futuristic aesthetics attracts tourists and fashion industry. In 2013 the house hosted a shooting session for a September Vogue issue, and in 2016, as you could have guessed, it served as a shooting location for Solange’s music video. It’s not the first time Solange uses the architecture in her videos. We recommend you to see other music clips, like “Don’t Touch My Hair” by Chong Hua Sheng Mu showing the Holy Palace.
3. An argument about using James Turrell’s light installations in Drake’s clip.
The Light and Space movement occurred in 1960’s as a research of the effect of space and light on our senses and attention. So far, James Turrell remains it’s the best known representative, with his poetical description of movement: “We eat light, drink it through our skin”.1
Origin of the controversy about the Drake’s clip was in an opulent similarity of the interior with James Turrell’s installations. The music video producer declared that he was not inspired by the architect’s works, and if there had been any influence at all, it was unconscious. As is known, Drake visited James Turrell’s exhibitions. Some years earlier he mentioned that James Turrell had a major influence on his last tour visual effects. 2 After the video release James Turrell himself stated that he didn’t participate in making it. 3 Was it a mutual PR campaign or not, we will never know.
4. Symbiosis of music and visual patterns in Bonobo’s music video
We are all familiar with the feeling that occurs after a week of being in seclusion whether due to a cold or a depression. The music video director Oscar Hudson, also known by his recent project with Radiohead, made an attempt to describe this feeling by means of visual narration. “Bonobo wrote an album being on the road, feeling excluded from place and space. That’s how the idea about seclusion, feeling excluded from place has come up”, – says Oscar Hudson. He could amazingly reflect the track’s mood. The music video precisely reflects the feeling of a city melancholy.
People, robots or cyborgs amidst floral patterns of the 50’s, with the Barocco-style hairdo’s and elements of space suits, dance in a surreal apartment from a alternate universe. The atmosphere reminds “The Jetsons” – an American animated sitcom of the 60’s. Musical video and cartoon are filled with a retro-futuristic googie stylistics popular in California during 40’s-60’s. That was rather an optimistic period: the space became closer and it seemed that the technologies would soon fix all the problems. And yet, the googie stylistics is showed in more critical aspect. Demonstrating shots from the past mixed with the present, they visually remind that there’s no panacea from human problems.
- Bruce Watson, Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age. Bloomsbury, 2016, p. xi.
- «I f*ck with Turrell. He was a big influence on the visuals for my last tour».
- «While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f*cks with me, I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes were involved in any way in the making of the Hotline Bling video».