On This Day in 30BC

An Otherworldly Homage to Cleopatra's Suicide by Snake Bite

Digital artisan Anita Fontaine breathes new life into the myth of Cleopatra with a trippy moving portrait, which imagines the legendary queen’s ascension to the afterworld through a mystical pyramid portal. One half of visionary Amsterdam art collective Champagne Valentine, Fontaine used the myth of the pharaoh's purported suicide by asp bite to initiate the video, taking inspiration from the hyper-surreal palette of Kenneth Anger for the film’s hallucinogenic tone and enlisting Canadian noise rock musician Chris Taylor for its psych-fuzz score. Currently working on an interactive fashion film for Edun, Champagne Valentine's creative attraction to dark romance has seen them dream up multimedia projects for the likes of Tim Burton and Tate Modern. For their latest video, kohl-eyed model Marte Mei Van Haaster steps into the role of the iconic beauty famed for seducing Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, joining a club that includes Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh. “She’s a figure shrouded in mystery,” says Fontaine of the polarizing heroine. “People speculate that she was this powerful sexual mistress because she changed the face of history through politics, but no one really knows what she was like.”

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