Text by Ed Harrington
The Turin-based experimental audiovisual collective SPIME.IM have paired with artist Akasha on their new video Hint. The audio component of the piece is part of the art collective’s newly released album Grey Line. The collective explores societal aesthetics and the distortion of nature through hyperreal transmedia music projects. In the track Crystal, from the album, they describe ‘nature as an empty category looking for something to fill it.’
The video’s title Hint is fitting to the piece, which is a grotesquely beautiful, flashing snapshot into the workings of capitalism and its devastating and distorting effect on society. Fragments of a dystopian landscape are presented heaped in rubble, then the camera begins to walk you at lightning speed through a defiled, litter-filled cityscape.
The music is almost like a machine gun, mirroring the relentlessly snapping shots in the film. With no aim to the endless wandering, the film drops out to reveal the pieces of this dismal picture, like two broken parts of a cable trying to connect back to itself, conjuring a poignant reflection on the devastation of urbanism and capitalism.
An image of a building overflowing with rubble and litter segues into another cityscape sprint – this time a daylit neon mess with the surreal sprawling of tents, perhaps depicting mass poverty or the juxtaposition between the city and nature. Streets are filled with Mcdonald’s and Coca-Cola symbols, the frame frantically taking you up escalators into more neon structures.
The cityscape starts to distort, almost ripping like paper. This could be a nod to our view of reality becoming more disposable. SPIME.IM stated, ‘Just as we are entangled in this systematic chaos, by reflecting our perception and exploring the subtle gradations that make up the grey, we may begin to understand the intricate variations of reality.’ This statement seems to precisely encompass what the artists are doing in this work.
This idea of disposable reality is played on even further as the film eerily invites you through swimming pools and mansions with posing blondes, playboys and ushers. The fast snapping from gold-plated place to place shows the emptiness of affluence. Cascades of macho males, oil sheikhs and businessmen congregating in gambling halls and showrooms – and at one point, a herd of Elon Musks wearing sumo pants dancing in a Jacuzzi all create a bizarre, cartoon-like comic strip of disconnect.
Things take a more sinister note as supermodels, Kanye Wests, and Putins in classrooms morph into angry apes and cavemen seeking some kind of revenge on humanity. A graveyard of mangled car parts and zombie-like Barbie dolls leads into a hellish purgatory of model cities, computer stores and flooded streets with freakish and elusive muppets and manikins. A militarized armageddon turns into a video arcade before fading into a circuit board of office space with endless computer screens that appear answerless – as if the viewer behind the camera in the film is still searching.