DIRECTOR Chel White
STUDIO Bent Image Lab - bentimagelab.com
MUSIC BY Thom Yorke
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke describes this song as his most political work. "Harrowdown Hill," is part of Yorke's solo album, "The Eraser," which released in August 2006. After seeing the short films of Chel White, Yorke sought him out to direct his next music video.
White, who is co-founder of Bent Image Lab in Portland, OR, chose to incorporate an innovative technique that he and the rest of the Bent artists had been researching previous to this project. Dubbed Smallgantics, the technique takes footage of large objects (rivers, factories, city skylines) and makes them appear as though they are actually miniatures. In "Harrowdown Hill," Chel used aerial footage to be miniaturized using Smallgantics.
Smallgantics, inspired by tilt-shift photography, took the principles inherent with using tilt-shift lenses (lenses that sit at an angle in comparison to the film plane, creating a sloped focal plane which can at times simulate short depth of field and can distort the apparent size of subjects), and pushed them to a new level. Instead of the apparent blurriness of the subject matter being dependent on its vertical alignment in the picture, Bent broke the image up into its apparent planes of depth. So, just like in actual shallow depth of field, it is the subject's proximity to the lens that determines its sharpness.
The process involves splitting the footage up into several vertical planes that move back over the perceived z-axis, or into the image along its perceived depth. These planes are then affected with varying degrees of blur to simulate a shallow depth of field. If done right, the amount of blur increases smoothly as it moves along the planes of the image. Next, these levels of blur are animated to simulate a change in focus or to compensate for the forward movement of the camera.
Chel White's video for Thom Yorke's, "Harrowdown Hill," won Best Music Video at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2007, ResFest 10, and The Worldwide Short Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Music Video and Best Special Effects at MVPA and FutureShorts.
"The winner of this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) music video award is described as 'a quietly intense call to consciousness in an age of disinformation, preemptive war and unprecedented governmental secrecy.' Thom Yorke's 'Harrowdown Hill,' directed by Chel White, offers a visually compelling bird's eye view of some of the biggest challenges facing our society today, including global warming and petroleum consumption." -MusicVideoWire.com
Niels Peter Skou
Kolding School of Design
The text used for the narration of “Passing Through” is part of a speech Serbian scientist and inventor
Nikola Tesla delivered in 1893 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Though today less known than
figures like Edison and Einstein, Tesla was more or less the father of much of our modern technology, since
he among other things developed the foundations of the European electrical system based on alternating
currents and the principles of wireless radio communication.
At the time he was deeply influenced by the Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach, believing
that the world should be conceived as a whole where everything is interconnected influencing each
other. And that energy is a force that runs through everything be it inorganic matter, organisms or human
consciousness. According to this line of thought every single action has universal consequences, not unlike
what the father of modern chaos theory Edward Lorenz in the 1960’s termed ‘the butterfly effect’.
"Like a wave in the physical world, in the infinite ocean of the medium which pervades all, so in the world of organisms, in life, an impulse started proceeds onward, at times, may be, with the speed of light, at times, again, so slowly that for ages and ages it seems to stay, passing through processes of a complexity inconceivable to men, but in all its forms, in all its stages, its energy ever and ever integrally present.
A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes in Nature. In no way can we get such an overwhelming idea of the grandeur of Nature than when we consider, that in accordance with the law of the conservation of energy, throughout the Infinite, the forces are in a perfect balance, and hence the energy of a single thought may determine the motion of a universe.”