As a child, I used to lay on my top bunk bed and wonder if I was the only human in a giant alien research experiment designed to test how a human responds to different kinds of stimulation. It was more of a “thought experiment” than anything, but the idea never really disappeared from the corners of my mind. I finally made a video art piece about the idea, and it feels pretty satisfying to let that childhood thought have a new life.
When Rea McNamara and Yoshi Sokeoda approached me to create a video single for their (completely amazing) video art label Undervolt & Co., I was really excited, but also knew I would have to work hard to create something interesting that pushed some boundaries in what I had done before. Undervolt & Co. has a really stellar reputation, and I’ve been quite the fan of pretty much everything they’ve done since day one.
Venetian Snares is an artist I’ve hoped to work with for a long time. He’s probably one of the best, if not the best, breakcore artist in the world, in my opinion. With my background in the noise and experimental music community going back to the 90s, he’s registered pretty strongly on my radar for a while. He also lives in Winnipeg, which is pretty darn close to Saskatoon where I live, so I always figured we had this funny little thing in common – not many people that do the sorts of things we do stay in this part of the world, but the ones that do…well, we’ve got tenacity, we’ve got our reasons, and we’re pretty hardcore. The Prairies in Canada have a strong reputation for not only flat land and bleak, long winters, but also for long periods for introspection and production. Perhaps that’s why we have such good noise shows. So when I was thinking about what kind of music I wanted for this idea of visualizing this lifelong alien abduction/experiment feeling, Venetian Snares came to mind as a logical person for the job, because his music is so intense and jagged and emotive, while being so cold and cruel at the same time. I approached Venetian Snares about the video and he said yes right away, which made me pretty happy. We had met before, but this time, just over chat, we hit it off and got talking about all sorts of stuff. The video came along really easily once we got the right track in place for it and I just felt a nice sense of harmony about the whole thing. I hope we can collaborate again in the future, because the response has been great :)
You can read Undervolt & Co.’s P.O.V. interview with me on their website if you’d like to more about the 3D sound-reactive frequency processing I used in the video and some of my ideas about what it all means to me. However, I realize now that I forgot to mention how I incorporated something kind of new for me in this video, though. I incorporated some machinima video from multiple flythroughs of a Vulcan Star Trek sim in Second Life to create parts of the scenery. I’m going to do that again in new ways in future work sometime, I think. I sure do have a lot of fun in Second Life, haha.
Without further adieu, here’s “Abducted for Life”:
FULL SCREEN IT
Abducted for Life – Carrie Gates vs. Venetian Snares
Oct. 30, 2015
- Video by Carrie Gates, Undervolt & Co.
- Music by Venetian Snares, album forthcoming on Timesig, 2016 (original song title “He Shit Out His Own Skeleton and Wore His Floppy Flesh Like a Trench Coat”)