12.10.2023, Words by Billy Ward

Squid merge rave and ritual in brooding new 'O Monolith' short film

"This felt like a way of bringing together the ancient and modern..."

Squid return with a short-film directed by Ivana Bobic, choreographed by, and starring, performance artist Ted Rogers. 

An ecstatic exploration of ritual and rave against a brooding Kentish backdrop, the film is in response to the band’s new album O Monolith which “folds together the ancient and the modern in the British landscape”.

Speaking on the project and collaboration, director Ivana Bobic says: “I read that the band had been inspired by Paul Wright’s Arcadia (“A folk horror wrapped up in an archive film”) — an influence that has haunted my work for years. I loved the subversion of nostalgia, especially in the context of the English pastoral. And I was also very interested in how the film explored dance. 

"I worked with choreographer/ performer Ted Rogers (currently Tracey Emin’s Performance Artist in Residence). Both of us had formative experiences in rave and club culture and wanted to channel that yearning for the ecstatic experience. Taking notes from Mark Leckey’s Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, we explored the idea of rave and ritual morphing together against a brooding, ambivalent Kentish backdrop. This felt like a way of bringing together the ancient and modern. 

"The piece expresses O Monolith as a whole — the music is so rich in ideas with huge highs and lows and, at the same time, is so abstract. It needed a different approach from a traditional music video. We wanted it to feel like a journey through the album so we decided to convey the breadth of emotions and moods rather than specific songs (although you do get glimmers of a sync performance with After the Flash).”

In addition, Rogers explains that “Ivana and I had discussed the idea of British Rave Culture, something we both have a degree of experience in. For me uninhibited dance in a social format is far more appealing than very constructed dance. The natural feeling of ecstasy that occurs from duration and expulsion is somewhat spiritual in my opinion. It seemed an easy pairing as raves happen in both industrial and pastoral settings. For me the monolith of concrete structures and the monolith of nature's vastness are not at all far apart. They are both humbling and expansive.”

Watch the short film above or stream the 'O Monolith' album here. 

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