By now, yours may have been amongst the six million eyeballs to watch the video for Tame Impala’s recent single, "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"—and for good reason. By all accounts, it’s a fantastic song, but it’s also one of those songs that’s set over the top by the perfect music video.
That video was created by creative duo Becky and Joe, who spent four weeks hand-shaping over 1,000 plasticine frames—the modeling clay used in features like Wallace and Gromit—to create an unforgettably trippy abstraction.
"We had the idea to create an abstract journey set during the split second when two people’s eyes meet for the first time," co-creator Becky Sloan tells Co.Design, "something so visually engaging that the viewer wouldn’t be able to blink for three minutes."
For inspiration, the team turned to MRI brain scans, along with the looped animations by artists like Al Jarnow. Somewhere in the mix, they came up with an aesthetic of universes—seamlessly scaling from the ether to the human head to the doors of one’s thoughts to the inner galaxy hiding in us all. It’s transcendent, but at the same time, the use of plasticine means it’s always borderline tangible, impressed with the thumbprints of physical creation (and even the occasional piece of lint).
"The good thing about plasticine is the fact you can smudge, mix, and even melt it into certain shapes," Sloan writes. "This creates a very acid-y, psychedelic look without using loads of digital effects…which was perfect for Tame Impala’s music.
"We also discovered that kids plasticine is the only kind that melts and that it is probably very dangerous!"
After sketching the whole animation out, they began the grueling task of repetitive play—a child’s fantasy of unlimited art time sobered by a grownup deadline. And then they did something extraordinarily cool: After each frame was digitized, they put them up for sale. They were snatched up almost instantly. But what a nice prize for fans of the band, and a clever monetization scheme for a fantastic piece of digital/analog art.