Today, “Just a Reflektor” was honored for Outstanding Creative Achievement with the Original Interactive Program Juried Award at the Television Academy’s 66th Emmy Interactive Media Nominee Reception! Ciné Institute is proud and honored to share this amazing award with Vincent Morisett, Arcade Fire, and Google Creative Labs!
“Just A Reflektor” is an interactive music video that explores the themes in Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” through two devices simultaneously: the computer and the smartphone or tablet. Filmed in Jacmel, Haiti, the story follows a young woman who travels between her world and our own. This innovative short film was directed and produced by Vincent Morriset with Google Creative Labs and the help of Ciné Institute.
Read more from Unit 9 below:
The experience reveals a narrative as it moves along with the song: we follow Axelle ‘Ebony’ Munezero in different situations. It feels like the situations have a sort of symbolic feeling to them, drawing your curiosity into the piece. As a user of the site you move your mobile to visually transform the video: a bit like pointing a torch at the scenes.
And while this is a Chrome Experiment, the technological side isn’t overt – in the end you just get lost into a new world. The heroine is more akin to a goddess than a normal human, her dances and moves seem to invent new directions and ideas rather than flow as you would expect. The most fun is that she tricks you into thinking you are really interacting with her, and this illusion takes over and carries you along.
An unsung line from the song appears on screen at a certain point: “break free” – and you realise you can put your phone down. It rings a chord somewhere because the words are meaningful on so many different levels in this case. There is a kind of idea behind the piece that is referenced to in many different forms: is it really “just a reflektor”? And the questions you are left with is the energy behind the piece. The process to create the experience wasn’t really an organised one with a sniper target objective – this was much more fluid. Vincent set the pace, for sure, but the main character was also one of winning over people on the team to find their own motivation. The aesthetic of the piece is shared by the team as much as by the creative direction.
Maybe authorship in this kind of work is akin to discovery, which is not unlike the process of art. But very different from big digital business which is a testament to the Aaron Koblin’s influence on the project as well. The space created around the team, and their tight synchrony was exceptional: almost no management but people that wanted to fit the aesthetic structure.
Technology – there is plenty of it – spills out from the seams but is contained. Real-time video effects based on video feedback loops, or real time drawing on top of the stream, these are things we haven’t seen before except in expensive post production setups. That you use your mobile as a tracker and send information about position, distance from the screen and orientation of the device is also a likely first. But what is exceptional is also that the technology is soon forgotten and the story and the song takes over.