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Dvein's "Magma" Music Video Fuses Mesmerizing Facial and Topographical Landscapes

Surreal volcanos made of faces crumble and disintegrate in this mind-bending visual adventure.

Dvein, a filmmaking and animation collective out of Barcelona, Spain, recently premiered their music video for "Magma." It's a mesmerizing and mind-bending visual adventure, created for Adobe. Facial and topographical landscapes, molten liquids and colors, fuse together in a near seamless integration of live action and digital animation. The look is so precise that artifice, like the video's subjects and objects, seems to melt away.


Comprised of Fernando Domínguez, Teo Guillem, and Carlos Pardo, Dvein provides direction and art direction for live action and animation projects. They've worked for such international clients as Canal+, MTV, National Geographic and Nokia. Outside of their commercial projects, Dvein is driven by a deep sense of experimentation. They've melted plastic toy helicopters, built a miniature music festival andno liedirected snails for a 23-second spot for Odisea Periscopio.

Their work, whether commercial or experimentaloften both simultaneouslyis incredibly imaginative and often stunning. With "Magma" Dvein achieve a type of sublime hyper-detailed succession of visuals in flux. The song title is appropriate here because there is a molten flow to the imagery. Surreal volcanos made of faces crumble and disintegrate, producing white liquid streaked with colors. Out of this liquid disintegration emerge other similar faces. The effect is that of a psychedelic primordial soup of replication.

Colors and patterns which feature in the video

There is also a Borgesian quality to “Magma”a topographical landscape mapped onto the landscape of the face which, when viewed in close-up, reveals a hidden topography. Inspired by Dvein, we can imagine the nose as a mountain, or the eyes as radiant pools. Eyelashes and eyebrows become tree lines and dense forests, respectively. And lips carve a valley between their rounded mountaintops, while the nostrils transform into subterranean caves. At the micro level, the human face's pores become the canvas for asteroids and meteorites. While Dvein don't descend to this level of detail, their work on “Magma” evokes the idea or the possibility of it.


Asked about the genesis of the project, the filmmakers said it originated with Adobe. “They invited us to make an art film for the launch of the new Creative Cloud,” said Dvein, who formed their own band, The Vein, and then set about creating a music video. “For the moment, The Vein is not just an invented band. We plan to release a vinyl single for 'Magma,' and they have their own”

Asked about any cinematic influences on the “Magma” music video, Dvein said they thought a lot about landscape in films.

“We had a couple of references in mind when we did it, like some of the desert sequences in Zabriskie Point,” said Dvein. “We wanted to use black and white as a starting point because we wanted a transition from a monochrome landscape to a colorful world full of paint.”

Images that influenced Dvein for their "Magma" video

To that end they looked to the black and white cinematography in Woodkid's “I Love You,” Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon, and the title sequence of Tarsem Singh's The Fall"We researched volcanic landscapes, like the ones you can find in Iceland, with all these organic shapes and intricate paths and shapes of rivers and glaciers,” added Dvein. “Also, we looked into some artists that we like who work with the idea of paint as a raw element not just a tool, like Yago Hortal or Caspar David Friedrich.”

With The Vein's music, Dvein wanted the song to transport themselves to another place. “We wanted it to take us to somewhere else far, far awaysome surreal land where the children are old people and the landscape is alive, where the living organism is the landscape itself,” said the filmmakers. “There was something in it that was giving life to this chorus of old people with children's voices, the painting, the magma, that was moving all around this landscape.”


In order to compliment the film's look with audio, Dvein tried to create something “primitive and savage.”

“Drums are quite an old way of communicating and it worked perfectly in the mountains and landscapes we were working on,” said the filmmakers. “As we moved forward, we added some things to the music to give it a bit of an ethnic sound, like using Tibetan instruments and voices.” Although Dvein admits the second part of the song is inspired by Sebastian, Daft Punk and Sebastien Tellier, they tried to create something new and give it their own personality.

Behind the scenes

The video also calls to mind an idea the great but under-appreciated genius G.K. Chesterton had for a book he never wrote. Chesterton conceived of a novel nested in “vast valleys with sloping sides, like those along which the ancient White Horses of Wessex are scrawled along the flanks of the hills.” Set on a farmer's cottage that stands on a slope, the story would have followed a boy on his “travels to find something, such as the effigy and grave of some giant.” Chesterton wrote of how he hoped to get the boy far enough from home so that when he looked back on his farm “shining flat on the hill-side,” the landscape actually revealed a recumbent giant.

Chesterton, of course, was making a point about metaphysical perspective in the introduction to his book The Everlasting Man. Dvein weren't influenced by the British writer, but their work on "Magma" seems even more interesting on a contextual level when imagining Chesterton's gigantic human-like figure superimposed on a topographical landscape.

Though “Magma” has a vastness about it, Dvein's work with miniaturesthey've filmed the topography of gummi bears, for instancesuggests they're subverting perspective itself. And this type of playful subversion is a mind-bending visual feast.

Check out the making-of, directed by Marc Ambrós with music by Iván Llopis at Banjo Music, below.