Images courtesy the artist, unless otherwise noted
Just as Alice ate cake and grew to an enormous size, things get curiouser and curiouser when a series of rooms shrink down around a man in Bonobo’s wondrously trippy new video for “No Reason,” a cut from his new album Migration (Ninja Tune). Directed by filmmaker Oscar Hudson and featuring vocals by Nick Murphy, the video opens on a hikikomori, a Japanese person who has completely withdrawn from life into their home. Hudson’s camera then begins moving toward a doorway that leads to a series of the same room where the main character appears larger and larger, while details within the room change ever so slightly.
“It was a real honour to make a video for an artist like Bonobo whose music I’ve been a fan of for years,” Hudson tells The Creators Project. “‘No Reason’ is such an evocative and atmospheric track and it was clear from the start that our video would need to reflect this potency.”
Hudson says that part of the inspiration behind the new album was Bonobo’s relationship to landscape and place while on tour, and the sense of alienation that comes with being rootless for long periods of time. So Hudson set out to make a film that, through an inventive physical concept, tried to link environment directly to psychology.
While researching these themes, Hudson learned about the Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori—young Japanese people so overwhelmed by life’s pressures that they retreat to their bedrooms and don’t leave for years at a time. With this fascinating intersection between physical and psychological spaces, Hudson hit upon the idea of building a series of rooms that gradually and claustrophobically shrink down around their occupant.
Screencap by the author
“As with much of my work, we achieved the film using only in-camera physical effects,” says Hudson. “We had to design an entirely new way of moving our miniature camera to get it to fit through the tiny doorways and travel smoothly for such a long distance. We also had 18 rooms all at different scales, so we had to duplicate and shrink every single prop that features in the set, which is obviously was a ton of work.”
“Doing this film with CGI would have been a thousand times easier, but for me, it’s physicality and imperfections are what make it different, and I hope better,” he adds. “The technical challenge of pulling this film off the way we did it was immense and huge credit goes to Production Designer Luke Moran-Morris and Director of Photography Ruben Woodin-Dechamps, who absolutely smashed it at every step.”
Check out “No Reason” in full, below: