Face-Melting Pranks From LA’s Indomitable Avant-Rock Band
Liars’ campaign of artistic abandonment rolls on with Yoonha Park’s video for new single “Pro Anti Anti.” The Los Angeles-based band have long been known for creating intense, audio-visual worlds for each album, and Park created sculptures of Liars twosome Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill, with the help of 3D-technology company Direct Dimensions, and Brooklyn-based design firm, New Project. “Direct Dimensions do body scans for Marvel Comics films, and they had just scanned Robin Williams,” says the director, who was inspired by Discovery Channel “manufacturing porn” show, How It’s Made alongside memories of Sesame Street's visit to a crayon factory. Park’s mix of high-tech methods and willful destruction chimes perfectly with the band’s seventh record, Mess. “It’s the idea of not taking anything too seriously or at face value,” says Andrew. “Maybe what becomes interesting about technological possibilities is what happens if you mess it up. The same applies to the way we made music with computers for the record: we did exactly the opposite of what the manual told us to do, because that’s when the really interesting stuff happens.”
The theme of science and technological progress falling apart is key to Mess. Why so?
Angus Andrews: There are a whole bunch of professional people in the world who are great and valuable because they push these things forward in a way that’s by the book. I feel there is a responsibility on artists and musicians to take what is going on there and set in fire or throw it in the pool.
Talk us through the process of having your head scanned.
AA: Unfortunately our drummer Julian Gross injured his back and could not travel. The guys who were actually doing the technical side of it had worked with all sorts of other objects but they had never done a head before. There was a lot of umming and ah-ing about the detail. I have a bit of a scruffy beard, and they were worrying how that was going to work out.
What did you think when you saw your face melting?
AA: It’s the money shot. But I can’t deny that I would have loved to keep those mask replicas to have at home.
“Pro Anti Anti” is released June 30. Mess is available now on Mute.
Introducing the All-Female Favela Crew Rhyming Their Own Vision of Rio de Janeiro
Pearls Negras are the teenage Brazilians bringing baile-funk back. The trio hail from the winding streets of Vidigal, a hillside favela overlooking Rio de Janeiro’s coveted Copacabana and Ipanema locales from its vantage point high up the Morro Dois Irmãos. Directed by the 32-year-old carioca (Rio local) director Kayhan Ozmen, the braggadocio-filled film spotlights Mariana Alves, Alice Coelho and Jennifer Loiola’s brand of hip-hop and raw Latin R&B, first dropped earlier this year on their Biggie Apple Mixtape. “They represent the new Brazilian youth who are born in slums, but now have access to the world via internet and social media,” says Ozmen of the 16- and 17-year-old stars. “This reflects on how they see the world: more broadly and beyond the slums. Vidigal is a community of talented artists and musicians and they take in everything the community has to offer them creatively.” The trio’s second mixtape is out next month with European and US tours later in the year. In the meantime, NOWNESS spoke to Mariana, Alice and Jennifer about their rapid rise, musical inspirations, and, of course, the World Cup.
Who are your musical heroines or heroes?
Alice Coelho: Nicky Minaj, because of her awesome attitude and confidence. And I really like Flora Matos and Karol Conka because I see them fighting for their place in the hip-hop world—in Brazil is very difficult as a female to take part. There is a lot of prejudice toward us, but they are breaking through that and we are trying to do the same.
Where did you learn your lyrical flow?
Mariana Alves: The three of us started taking acting classes at [Vidigal theater company] Nós do Morro around 2005, but everything really started when they set up a rapping workshop with [local musician and teacher] Jeckie Brown.
What is the future of Rio, after the World Cup?
MA: The 'Cup is very important but we are also fighting for improvements in our country. If we can have a World Cup, we can also have schools, hospitals and a better living wage.
A Swirling Galaxy of Pop Matter from the Multimedia Artist
“It’s all consuming, unstoppable now,” says Marco Brambilla of our shared media saturation, which provides the primary inspiration for his work. “I’m not sure whether that’s a negative or positive.” The New York-based artist utilizes this never-ending pop spectacle in “Creation (Megaplex),” the third and final part of his 3D video collage trilogy, excerpted here and currently on show at Michael Fuchs Galerie in Berlin. Disembodied depictions from well-known movies and even the Hollywood sign itself are sucked into a vortex; loops from 350-400 films and about 2000 objects revolve balletically to Prokofiev’s “Cinderella Waltz”. “Most people have seen the films from which my pieces are derived, so it taps into their collective consciousness,” says Brambilla. “The waltz structure felt appropriate since everything is in constant motion, orbiting and circling—and Prokofiev has a wonderful sense of madness.” The video artist is renowned for shaping 21st-century ephemera into baroque shapes: his 2010 video for Kanye West’s “Power,” for example, saw Yeezy re-approriated as a godlike icon in a neoclassical painting. “The subject of creation lends itself to having no beginning or end,” he says of his latest example of visual alchemy. “From destruction there is rebirth.”
What was the personal impetus for the Megaplex trilogy?
Marco Brambilla: Using mainstream cinema as the subject, the pieces explore the concept of spectacle versus content in that medium. Having made a Hollywood film—Demolition Man—this work links to my own background and feelings toward that form of filmmaking, and media saturation in general.
How do you absorb and catalogue the volume of information out there?
MB: When I’m producing the collages, I watch three to four films per day and clips from many more. The process is like a stream of consciousness, so it’s important for me to hold it together by immersing myself in the subject for a substantial period of time.
Do you remember your first cinematic experience?
MB: My father took me to see Fellini’s 8½ in Italy when I was quite young. The abstract sense of narrative left an impression on me, although I couldn’t understand why I found it so moving at the time.
MB: I’m shooting a project with NASA entitled Conquest, which deals with manned space exploration. It is a multichannel video installation that will be shown in Times Square.
Creation (Megaplex) runs at Michael Fuchs Galerie through May 31.