In a music video more dump.fm than slick sound stage, the unearthly electronic musician and media artist Holly Herndon has teamed up with the Japanese director Akihiko Taniguchi to make a mind-bending accompaniment to the composer's latest single, "Chorus." The video, which begins with an uncanny series of echoing mouse-clicks and "move-to-trash" sound effects, rapidly descends into an internet K-hole when its focus shifts first to a badly pixelated girl, then to a series of 3D-rendered desks and laptops, each autonomously surfing the internet and undulating in synchronicity with Herndon's spooky, bass-heavy track.
"So much of 'Chorus' was constructed by spying on my own online habits," writes Herndon in a statement. "Thinking about intimacy and the laptop is familiar territory to me."
The desktops — some of which randomly show up on patches of grass or spinning in the silent, dark void of negative space — are despite their occasionally glitchy appearance rendered in superfine detail. Based on real, user-submitted images, they appear in the video complete with pocket trash, hastily bundled wires, and empty takeout containers: objects familiar to those of us who've spent a couple all-nighters caught up in that infinite scroll. Almost 50 3D renders of the desks themselves are available to view and manipulate on Taniguchi's website.
Computers on patches of grass, spinning in a silent dark void
Recently, the director has been experimenting with similar projects, using a Kinect to project a 3D rendering of his own web-surfing habits in real-time.
The video compliments the San Francisco-based Herndon's composition perfectly; though her previous record, Movement, featured sample-heavy tracks and ample voice manipulation, "Chorus" rips soundbites from sources as unexpected as YouTube and Skype. The follow-up to her 2012 debut comes in the form of a two-track EP available from her record label RVNG Intl. The label tells Tiny Mix Tapes that soon it will "offer a web-based tool allowing users to compose their own version of 'Chorus' around a browser-based experience," so you have that to look forward to — if you can possibly handle the cognitive dissonance.