The times, it seems, have caught up with Philip K. Dick's techno-paranoia, as the collaborative music video between media artist Kurt D’Haeseleer and electronic artist Franck Vigroux, for the latter's track, “Simulacres,” makes clear. The video, inspired in part by PKD’s novel The Simulacra, in which a political leader is an android (simulacra), grew out of the pair’s live audiovisual project, Centaure.
In “Simulacres,” the Werktank founder D’Haeseleer creates a disorienting stream of flickering images that alternately synchronize with and stray from Vigroux’s pulsating industrial rhythms. D’Haeseleer pairs manipulated black-and-white images that look on the verge of disintegration with colorful images of faces warping and mutating in hideous fashion.
“I started quite literally from the concept of a centaur—I consider the centaur a corporeal mutation,” D’Haeseleer tells The Creators Project. “For me it’s about how technology shapes our body and vision of the world... I don’t want to show literally what technology does with us, it’s more an hypothesis. I manipulate images and especially images of bodies.”
“I do a lot morphing, scaling, texturing, compositing, and mostly everything together at the same time,” he explains. “I work with extreme manipulations and force images to react to the parameters of other images. With this approach, I can only partly foresee how the image will appear. The result is a process that strongly resembles developing analog photographs, where it is always a surprise to see the result, or even alchemy, but that in fact is entirely digital.”
As Vigroux explains to The Creators Project, “Simulacres” is something of a sonic and visual climax of Centaure, which he describes as “a pretty intense performance—very physical but also with a lot of nuances and colors from atmospheric to noise.” The results are, like the technology we use, at once entrancing but repulsive.