Nas, Usher & Bibi (want you to) reflect on society in #Chains | #dontlookaway #music #interactivevideo

Unless you have been living on a boat in the middle of the ocean without satellite reception for the last year, you might have noticed there’s something happening in America. Things like the #BlackLivesMatter movement, revolts, excessive violence towards people of colour (and actually people in general) often by people we’re supposed to trust (like police), gun violence in schools and other public places, religious terrorism towards African-American churches, and manic hypocrisy are stirring up society. Or that’s what the media coverage is telling me.

It is heartwarming to see the solidarity that the #BlackLivesMatter movement has been able to gather. All the other things are kind of chilling.

Artists have responded creatively, which is why I’m writing about this, because this is not a political blog, but a blog that tries to celebrate the creative reflex of human beings.

Artists like Lauryn Hill, Common & John Legend and Janelle Monae are speaking out and being heard all over the world. Rumour has it that Jay Z and Beyoncé have even been bailing out protesters who ended up in jail.

Now my favourite rapper Nas speaks out too. Actually it’s a collaboration. Usher, Nas and Bibi Bourelly worked on the song “Chains” together, talking about the injustice and making people face the victims it has created, quite literally.

Yeah, yo check
I am Sugar Ray Robinson, Booker T. Washington
W. E. B. Du Bois, I’m the modern one
Yelling at Senators, Presidents, Congressmen
We got a problem that needs some acknowledgement
I am no prison commodity, not just a body you throw in a cell
For any reason, just to bother me
Just for your quota, so it’s rest in peace to Sean Bell
Sleep in peace Eric Garner (Sandra)
Every street, every corner
Conspiracy, new world order
I spoke to Tamir Rice mom and she told me “be strong”
It won’t be long ’til it’s justice
They won’t have votes but refuse the discussion
On how certain cops they shoot us for nothing
Revolution is coming” – Nas, Source: Genius.com

I say “literally”, because the track includes a video project, an interactive music video called “Don’t look away”. The visual experience forces viewers to focus on the faces and stories of different victims of extreme violence and racial injustice. If the viewer tries to look away, the music stops, until the eyes are back on the screen.

Rekia Boyd

Source: Mic.com

How? The artists used groundbreaking interactive technology to design the visual confrontation. The video technology tracks the viewer’s eyes. To do so the streaming service asks permission to access a user’s built-in camera. This way the technology senses immediately when the viewers look away from the screen, that’s the moment the technology stops the music, forcing the viewer to look back if they want to continue the track.

Source: Mic.com | Music.Mic

Source: Mic.com | Music.Mic

The video project can be experienced exclusively at chains.tidal.com.

Beneath you’ll find the video, but make sure to try the video experience as well. It’s part of the message and the way the artists intended their music to be heard.

Oh, and #peace, please.

Sources: Egokick.com / Mic.com / Rollingstone.com / Sojourners / Tidal

Anima 2015 : Best of Shorts – Editor’s pick

A while ago a friend invited me to Anima 2015 in Flagey. For some reason I started a post about it, but never finished it. So here it goes, though somewhat later as scheduled…

For those of you who do not know Anima, it’s the annual Animation Film Festival in Brussels. It’s impossible to review all highly original and inspired entries, so I picked my favorites from the selected professional shorts. Beware some are highly disturbing…

Small note : Not all short films are online available in their uncut, full-length versions. So some will only feature their trailers or behind the scenes footage. It will hopefully spark your interest and make you want to see more of the artists who created the film.

1. La Chair de ma chère, Calvin Antoine Blandin, FR, 2014, 12’40’’ – FULL

2. Beach Flags, Sarah Saidan, FR, 2014, 13’39’’ – TRAILER

Vida, a young Iranian lifeguard, is determined to fight and go the extra mile in order to be the one to participate in an international competition in Australia. However, when Sareh who is as fast and talented as her, joins the team, her luck changes. Vida will have to face an unexpected situation when ambition, opportunity, solidarity and being a woman in Iran come together.

3. The Dam Keeper, Dice Tsutsumi, Robert Kondo, US, 2013, 18’05’’ – Nominated for an Oscar!

Introduction to The Dam Keeper by the directors and thoughts on their Acadamy Award nomination.

For more behind the scenes footage go here and here to check their YouTube channel and their website.

4. Juste de l’eau, Carlos De Carvalho, FR, 2014, 4’42’’ – FULL

For the making of, go here.

Supposedly set in Lisbon, more specific during the time of the great maritime discoveries. The Great Explorers arrive in the harbor after a long voyage across the oceans. Greeted by loved ones, friends and family, joyous events spontaneously erupt in every corner of the town. Everyone and everything seems to be caught in a celebratory frenzy. Meanwhile, a young pig doesn’t quite feel included in the whole flurry of things and has the strange feeling of being completely isolated from the others in his own native city.

5. Rulletrappen, Christopher Nielsen, NO, 2014, 9’47’’ – TRAILER

I was lucky enough to see the whole thing. Too bad it’s not yet available online, or in English…

People(/trolls) are struggling upward on an escalator that is going down. Some run, some just keep going, some have worked out a specific step strategy… Until one of them starts to wonder why. The inevitable question that they refuse to ask themselves. Is the goal to fight their way to the top, or is it to relax and just go with the flow of the stairs to the bottom? Because nobody knows what’s at either end of the escalator.

Nielsen managed to create some kind of endless hell of not knowing, doubt, peer pressure, philosophy and mind tricks.

John Koenig’s “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”

Sometimes you are just dumbfounded by all the great and amazing things around you. You can’t describe them, they render you speechless. And sometimes we take them for granted, we get so nujmb by all the beauty and all the emotion, you stop noticing them.

Freelance graphic designer and word lover John Koenig started a peculiar blog project in which he attempts to find words and definitions that can still capture those almost undefinable moods and twilight emotions that give us goosebumps or get us wondering. The blog is called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows and Koenig describes it as “A compendium of the aches, demons, vibes, joys and urges that roam the wilderness of the psychological interior. The author’s mission is to harpoon, bag and tag wild sorrows, then release them gently back into the subconscious.” in the information section of his tumblr account.

Where English fails, he goes over the language borders and hunts down the most foreign of words, phrases, character formations and the most curious of definitions.

Watch his poetic video about “Sonder” and let Koenig amaze you in a way no other dictionary can.