By Gavin Keeney

“Who are these multiple vixens?” Why “The Matrix”?

These two questions are sufficient, as rhetorical questions, to enter into the visual field of the very short, yet very potent video.

The lyrical and the dark combine, through the music and the imagery. The imagery shifts. There is the repetitive and iterative element of the “stamping technique” and there is over-painting. The overpainting is also, most likely, the mark of additional stamping. It accentuates but alters features. Mostly the human face is restamped to double or disfigure some telltale aspect.

The multiple vixens. They are all young and fashionable women, of course. Their subjective state falls somewhere between elegant and narcissistic. What is their fate in the time of pandemic?

The Matrix. There is the sense of the immensity of something else that cannot be contained in the short film. It is intentional only because it would destroy the fragility of the “danse macabre.” This slippery slope – the dance – suggests the nature of the hidden forces operative nonetheless in the film as a type of memento mori. Remember to die …

Are we all being told today that we are disposable? Rarely. It is, instead, in the air. Unspoken. Feared. It is the dark mark of living in the time of the Anthropocene plus Pandemic, a very bizarre mathesis that may soon include mass migration and mass starvation. This presentiment feeds the hysteria of the moment, and it feeds the sense of some dark conspiracy at play, real or imagined. The Matrix. The Simulation. The Coming Police State. The End Times.

All of this falls across the gemlike video like a shadow. The facets noted reflect the mood. Eyes glare. Faces melt.

The metaphor of “a war” appears and disappears. The young ladies and the garish foliage dance.

The invoked miracle (“It’s like a miracle”) is the promise that “It will disappear.” Except there is a perhaps unintended double entendre embedded there. “It” is never directly invoked, other than in the early intertitles. The facets of the gem speak of Life and Death. Life is a miracle, and “it will disappear” is the accidental second meaning.

The fear of the simulation that we all have the displeasure and dishonor of inhabiting, locked in the haunted mirrors of our own deformed subjective conditions, whether of the precariat or the plutocracy, suggests no way out other than to buy into Elon Musk’s fantasy of fleeing Planet Earth.

There is a sense of gloom here. A sense of foreboding. An intimation of engendered mortality – a conspiracy of a collective monstrosity called State and Nation, Power and Privilege, I and Thou.

I and Thou? When did the divide between self and other become so monstrous?