Tech by VICE

[Premiere] This Music Video Doubles as a Recipe for Custom Soylent

For Baba Stiltz’s song "XXX20003," director Duncan Loudon wanted to give something back to the viewer—so they created a DIY food hack.

by Kevin Holmes
Mar 14 2017, 2:22pm

Screencaps by the author.

You've probably heard of Soylent, a brand of liquid food pitched as a meal replacement that can provide you with all of the nutrients your body needs. If you wanted to try it, you could buy it online, pre-mixed or in powdered form. Or, you could watch this music video for 23-year-old Swedish musician Baba Stiltz's new track, "XXX200003."

It's directed by Duncan Loudon and features a DIY recipe for Soylent that is a genuine bona fide way to tailor the liquid meal for you and your dietary requirements. You might think it unusual for a music video to offer something so instructive, but for Loudon, that was the idea.

"That reality was the interest for me," Loudon tells Creators. "To make a music video that has a further functionality, and gives as well as it takes in terms of your time, in the sense that three minutes is a lengthy viewing time for online video I think. So if someone's going to sit through watching (and not only listening) for all of that time, I might as well try and make their time usage worthy and make the video helpful within a wider life context."

Baba Stiltz. Image courtesy of the artist.

The video starts by explaining what Soylent is, and then offering the advice that there's no need to buy it. Instead, like the company's founder, you can make it at home from ingredients bought at your local shop "Like Baba does…" We then see webcam footage of Stiltz intercut with screengrabs of how to make Soylent, displayed in its pragmatic, bleached-out hues and in the functional font we associate with prescription packaging.

"Just zero excess was the idea, exactly like Soylent itself," notes Loudon. "I didn't want to add any unnecessary stylization as it doesn't suit the nature of the topic. Seemed fitting to the whole culture of self-hacking, food-hacking."

The director explains that the video also nods to the lineage of Baba's previous visual styles. And the repetitiveness of consuming a purely liquid diet also tied in fittingly with the song's loops and recurring beats. "It feels when I listen to it like the sound of compulsiveness. What I see listening to it is someone working frantically at a computer (editing a video or mixing music), drinking and drinking cups of water or coffee as a reflex to the stimulation of working. It feels like the soundtrack to a brain working within a compulsive mind-state."

As for the colors and tones, Loudon explains that one of the biggest references for the lo-fi utilitarian graphics was a 2009 YouTube tutorial. He also looked at some of Damien Hirst's work, like his Pharmacy installation.

"Yeah, honestly, the biggest image and tone reference was this 2009 YouTube tutorial on how to make wheat paste I used to watch all the time, in its scratchy Windows 98-looking graphics and overly dry instructions. I always loved that video and couldn't really explain why, and so in some ways aimed to replicate that. Then also the general pastel palette that runs through the pharmaceutical industry as a representation of clinical-ness and efficiency itself—and therefore through all of Damien Hirst's pharma-related stuff which I looked at for reference to the colors and the simplicity of packaging on pill boxes that you know is highly designed to present the information to you in a clean immediate fashion."

Check out the music video below.

"XXX20003" is taken from Baba Stiltz's EP Is Everything released on Studio Barnhus. Listen to more of Baba Stiltz's music here, and see more of Duncan Loudon's work on his website.

Related:

Finally, a Modern Cookbook for Artists and Writers

Artist Casper Braat Bought 1,000 Hamburgers Because It's Art

Damien Hirst's Art Restaurant Has Arrived