Monoculture has a new music video out for their song "Eyesore" off last year's album Blueprint for Dysfunction, and the video draws its inspiration from Childish Gambino's "This Is America" and the TV series Black Mirror.
“We wanted to create our own reality-bending visual story that explores gentrification, artistic exploitation, unconscious consumption and more, ultimately suggesting that something — it’s up to the viewer to find out or decide what — is at the root of it all," says Monoculture’s singer, guitarist and flutist Olan Mijana. “In an age of unprecedented noise, short attention spans and prioritization of aesthetic over substance, our music video encourages viewers to examine everything to discover its message.”
Mijana wrote the story line for the video, and Monoculture's drummer Nick Leibold directed and edited it.
Filmed in various locations around Dallas, the video stars Pascale Engla Serp as the woman Mijana calls “Lady Liberty.”
Although the song is short and the lyrics are few and scattered, the song was picked to become a video because of its connection with Mijana’s developing sociopolitical philosophy.
“We picked this song because although I wrote it many years ago with a nascent understanding of gentrification and white flight, I found that it was surprisingly well put," Mijana says, “even in the song’s sparse lyrics — as I began to learn more about the phenomenon.”
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It might be a bold move for a band to create a video for a song that is not necessarily single-worthy, but Mijana says he wanted to pick a song that was relevant to him politically.
Starting with the video’s opening shot, Black Mirror's influence is immediate as the visual texture reminds the viewer of an old TV screen we are looking at too closely from whatever device we’re using to watch it.
The camera shows Lady Liberty walking across a parking lot and entering a car in which Mijana is handcuffed to the steering wheel. Mijana sings “Too big for those shoes / Outgrowing your road / Sifting through the shit / This land is an eyesore.”
As Lady Liberty placidly strokes the singer’s Afro, he only seems to notice momentarily before singing the remainder of the lyrics: “Living in the grey / Death coming my way / Invincible, yeah / Is this all we’ll know? / Fleeing from those men / Kicking up the dirt / Birthing up your pits / You’re leaving us your mess, yeah.”
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At this point, the video is only halfway through its run time, but the instrumentals provide a soundtrack to Lady Liberty’s pathway through juxtaposed images of urban development and new housing, homelessness and excess, and the exchange of money for goods and services.
Lady Liberty ultimately finds her way into a small performance space where we see an uncuffed Mijana and his bandmates playing for an audience that showers her — not the band — with cash.
Though the video’s message is as cryptic as the song’s lyrics, you leave the experience with a sense of helplessness. The video shows the world moving to the groove of a funky, psych-rock tune while the struggles of so many go either misunderstood or completely overlooked.
“What I came to, and still am unraveling is that gentrification is but a symptom of something deeper," Mijana says about the video’s message. "What that is? You decide based on the video.”