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Disappears Mesmerize in Animated ‘Power’ Video


Earlier this week, Chicago art-noise outfit Disappears released Era, their fourth album in as many years (and second release of 2013, following the Kone EP). To commemorate the occasion, the psych-inclined quartet have shared a video for the LP’s stark lead single, “Power.” The animated clip, created by artist Alexander Stewart, complements the song’s severe, guttural groove by focusing on simple geometric shapes that were hand-drawn with a Sharpie. As the black-and-white short wears on, the lines and figures fold in on themselves and expand, moving at a relentless, hypnotic rhythm. Watch it above, and read exclusive commentary from Stewart below.

I spent two or three weeks experimenting with drawing the intersecting edges and corners of the industrial buildings I would see walking through the west loop to my studio. I kept working with those drawings, making them simpler and simpler and thinking about how they could move, until I had them doing these rotations, almost like wireframes. I was specifically thinking of how [artist] Fred Sandback’s drawings on paper look, how they are diagrammatic in a cool ’70s conceptual way, feel both so perfect and so human, and have an elegant dimensional quality to them, and I wanted to try and capture something similar. I was getting into the way the simple animations were going, and then started thinking about one of my favorite animations, Two Space by Larry Cuba, where he turns these simple mirrored forms into tiled patterns that are totally mesmerizing. I like the feeling of watching something really simple pushed to maximal effect, where some part of your brain understands how simple the parts are, but there’s so much visual information that it’s dazzling and overwhelming to look at. I started building up these compositions out of the simple animations, and the video came pretty naturally from there.