The digital age is a study in paradox and irony.
Sit in a room with friends at any given moment and you'll find dozens of conversations happening with people who aren't in the room. Technology promised to better connect humanity, but instead of making eye contact, eyes stay glued to screens. Instead of speaking with friends and family in the same room, fingers tap texts to others miles away.
Artists, poets, and theologians have long pondered what it is that makes humanity human, but the digital revolution has thrown a massive wrench into the existential debate. Elastic Bond is among the latest artists to tackle the theme of technological entrapment. In the video for the band's latest single, "Honey Bun," Mary Shelley's classic gets a digital update when a mad scientist builds a robot starved for connection with another sentient being. Before he can connect with the woman who frees him from the isolated warehouse where he was created, the robot must disconnect from the wall socket that keeps him on a short leash.
The concept for the video was hatched by director Jonathan "Jmac" Machado, in collaboration with Sofy Encanto and Andres Ponce of Elastic Bond.
"In a way, we're robots too," Encanto says. "We're controlled by technology, just like robots are."
"You make me run out of words," Encanto sings as the two characters lay eyes on each another for the first time. And, indeed, the two never speak in the video. Their communication is strictly nonverbal and sensual. They stare into each other's eyes, lightly touch foreheads as they close their eyes to feel each other's energy, and, most important, dance.
Photo by Alissa Christine
"I had been wanting to do a music video that revolved around dance," Machado says. His eagerness shows as the camera glides along the length of the dancers' bodies. The robot's movements loosen from rigid, regimented motions to the free-flowing salsa moves of his vivacious human guide. Her shirt flows and billows at the sleeves while the curls on her head bounce to the beat.
Part of the video was shot at a "sketchy" Fort Lauderdale warehouse. "The Breaking Bad people could've been cooking meth in there," Machado jokes. "This is definitely the place some rogue scientist would build a robot."
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The highlight of the video is a vibrant dance battle shot at Little Haiti's Rasta Village. The robot comes alive right along with the scenery, which transitions from the drab, pallid walls inside the warehouse to the bright colors and sights of Little Haiti. His clothing livens from white-on-white to pastels and baby blues.
Finally free of his technological constraints, he and his human companion ride through the South Florida streets on bicycles.
"Nothing can really duplicate human connection," Encanto says. "Human connection is talking, dancing, sharing, hugging. Staring, even, is a human connection. So they look at each other. They dance. They hold hands."