This Powerful Music Video Is an Audiovisual Monument of the Twenty-First Century Zeitgeist “During my process of isolation to look inward for the basis of the album, I became increasingly aware of the constructs we live inside, the fables we tell ourselves about who we are and the systems which create us.” As a musical artist, how do you wade into the vast oceans of contemporary debate without preaching? For his album, One Hundred Billion Sparks, London-based music artist Max Cooper’s has figured out how. Teaming up with Ukraine-based visual artist and motion designer Eugene Pylinsky, Max has masterminded a stunning, contemplative audiovisual experience for his album’s second single: Identity. At THE PLUS, Max Cooper is something of a house name. Read our previous feature of previous single Hope. Eugene’s visuals for the collaboration are poignant and insightful. With a mashup of references layered onto a human-head canvas, the video offers the viewer a platform of relatability and a meditative assemblage of images from the media that we breathe in on a daily basis. And this is all before the music drops. We sat down with the creative behind the video to hear more about the process behind the work and what it was like working with Max. THE PLUS: How did it feel when Max contacted you to collaborate on the video? Eugene Pylinsky: Once I got Max’s email with an offer to create video graphics for one of his tracks, I was ready to start straight away without even figuring what I was being asked for. Max got a number of collaborations with different artists that I’m very fond of. I was excited to join the project, so I said yes immediately. TP: What was your first impression of the music and did that change? EP: When I listened to Identity track, my brain immediately started rendering some interesting images, coining a certain atmosphere and dynamics. It was sort of a déjà vu sensation – as if I had already done something similar in a parallel reality. It really helped. I went ahead with my gut feeling. TP: Can’t have been an easy thing to translate into visuals. How did you approach the process of mapping the visuals out? EP: I’ve listened to this track so many times and every time I heard some new sounds and vibrations that triggered my imagination. I started by creating and animating the basic human head without any attribution and emotions. Once I was satisfied with the head animation, I started working on those tiny graphics elements, layer by layer to achieve this complex scene look. After the head, you can see the next part, a bunch of people melting under the pressure of social media, some win and the others lose. Sums up the environment we live in. TP: Can you tell us about the creation process? What was it like working with Max? EP: We understood each other from afar without any redundant words. Our visions had a one-hundred-percent match, so the process was smooth and fun. TP: Why did you choose to use barcode and QR code as one of the visual motifs? EP: Barcode and QR code indeed were the main graphic elements that I used in the video. Those are powerful visual symbols. In the video those codes contain information about what is programming us, building our identity. I generated random animation codes and built patterns from them, all synchronised with the audio. TP: How did you choose the words that feature visually at the end of the video, for example, “Group”, “Peace” “Bigotry”, and “Value”? EP: Max helped me with the main words, then I edited them in random order. TP: Clips from the media, on the face of the human, add a very interesting effect to the video. How and why did you choose these? EP: For the image sequence on the human face, I randomly chose images from the latest news over the world, then mashed them up in random order. Some of them I edited manually. TP: Who’s the human? Anyone in particular? Or does it represent all of us? EP: Yes, this abstract human represents all of us. TP: Do you enjoy working on projects that make interventions into such big debates? EP: This project was really interesting for me at this point in time. I think everyone who watched this video can understand and somewhat relate to it. TP: What have you got lined up next? EP: For now, I have finished eight new videos. They are my breakthrough and level up. I can’t wait to show them! Really hope I can share some of them this year.