A few days after we wondered whether datamoshing is making a comeback, this arresting new video for London producer Leila’s latest single, “Welcome to Your Life” (above), introduces the concept of “Dadamoshing”. Created by Leila and Polish duo Pussykrew, the surrealist clip’s incessant mangling of collages complements the abrasive nature of the track, sung by Berlin-based musician Matt Sims. And yes, that is Marcel Duchamp you can hear towards the end.
The song is taken from Leila Arab’s fourth album, U&I, out this week on Warp Records. A longtime associate of Björk and Aphex Twin, Leila has released music for labels such as XL and Rephlex, and recently produced parts of Björk’s Biophilia album.
Here she gives us a brief schooling on just what, exactly, this whole “dadamoshing” thing’s about.
The Creators Project: What’s the idea behind this video, and how do you think it relates to the song?
Leila Arab: The nature of life, the notion of parallel existences—the idea of “welcome to your life” and the concept of “seeing without your eyes”. The video deals with the absurdity of modern life, consumerism and shows the “animals” (past and present, extinct and extant) that are here.
Who are the Pussykrew and how did you end up working together?
They are a Polish couple who are friends of Matt and they got in touch a while ago about wanting to do something for me visually, and this felt like a good project for us to do together. I think that Eastern European art (especially the Czechs) has a great tradition of absurdist humour and we talked about that a lot when I first met them.
Did the video turn out the way you expected?
Yes and no. Time and money always get in the way of pure art but I think it is a pretty good actualisation of what it could have been. Finished art is always a problem for me—I invariably prefer the potential to the actuality. The idea is about dreams, the reality is concerned with function.
Which are your favourite moments in the video?
I like my logo [Leila on a bicycle] and it is always fun to brand random things with it. The opening scene of the hand with a mouth in it is pretty lush—I think Buñuel would have approved. The lip-sync animals are also a laugh. More would have been good: bees and birds maybe, but even basic 3D is a time nightmare.
There’s a moment when the word “DADAMOSH” appears onscreen—presumably a play on datamoshing, the technique of digital video manipulation used by the directors?
I actually didn’t know this but saw it in the rough draft and said let’s change it to “dadamosh” and keep it in.
What is it about Dada that appeals to you?
Achieving a balance between gravitas and absurdity, humanity and aesthetics. I think we are actually at a very similar time socially and politically (conservatism, war, economic meltdowns) so I think Dadaism is very apt.
And the “Pour moi, le Dadaisme…” text: where is this spoken-word clip taken from?
That’s from an interview with Marcel Duchamp done by Philippe Soupault.
Track “(Disappointed Cloud)” off the new album
You’ve released a lot of records but haven’t had many videos made. Why is that?
I like the idea of art, the reality is often dull. When people do briefs for such things, they are pretty rubbish.
What was the last video you saw where you thought, “Wow”?
Pina Bausch’s “A Sagração da Primavera”: I adore this section of music and this interpretation is very well paced. It draws out the depth of the recurring musical theme/motif. As for the video, I like they way they fall at 1.53, it’s funny.