In a converted convent about 90 miles northeast of Paris, Antonia Wright felt the need to roll.
This desire wasn't necessarily out of character. The performance artist had done something similar in a work she released in 2011, Deep Water Horizon, which involved her rolling naked down a dirty alleyway in Miami Beach. It was inspired by the oil spill of the same name, which gave Wright "the need to feel as dirty as what we were doing to the environment." But the pastoral landscape and quaint architecture of the French convent gave her an entirely different feeling — more like that of a child rolling down a hill.
"I was in France in this pristine landscape and I was taking in the sun," she remembers. "I was feeling the urge to roll, so I basically rolled around every inch of this place."
There to help her film her work was an old friend and musician. The two have known each other since their preteen years and have remained friends. They had decided to attend the same residency in Saint-Erme. While helping Wright film her work, he was working on songs that would eventually become the repertoire of the band he had yet to create in Miami, Chicken Liquor. That trio prefers to remain anonymous, although you might have seen the bandmates perform at Churchill's Pub and at Gramps in recent months. Their debut album is scheduled for release in September.
"We did everything analog — we recorded the whole thing on two-inch tape, We cut the record in three days," says the lead singer and friend of Wright's. "It’s spontaneous, it’s a kick in the face, it’s got attitude. I feel like I’m 17 years old again, being a punk."
The friendship and familiarity with each other's work made collaboration a fairly easy endeavor between the two artists. Wright was given free reign to edit the films from France as a music video for "Quince," a high-energy rock 'n' roll song. It's not necessarily the soundtrack you'd imagine for Wright's work, but the point was to try something different.
"Shooting the videos was along the same lines," she says, in regard to her other work. "In the editing process, it all gets totally turned up. It goes a little wild. It's hyperedited, superfast. It's meant to match the song."
With her nude body at times flickering to the rhythm of driving guitar riffs, Wright flies by verdant grass, quiet hallways with wood floors, and stone pathways. The video is so sped-up that she hardly looks human in some frames. The movement is purely visceral, like the sprinting of some newly discovered animal.
"That’s why when you hear the song and you see that video; it really matches up," Chicken Liquor's frontman says. The band's music comes from the gut — from a place that's fast and hard and holds no punches. When he first saw the video, he recalls, "I thought it was amazing. She hit it right on the money in the first shot. She showed me maybe 30 seconds, and I was like, ‘It’s perfect.’"
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The video captures a kind of angst that's hard to put a finger on. For the band, it has something to do with contemporary culture — its aggression, polarity, and lack of concern. People at the trio's shows seem to simply need an outlet for all of that pent-up energy.
"Everybody seems to be in your face these days, no matter what side of the spectrum you’re on," Chicken Liquor's founder says. "People are pissed and rowdy no matter what standpoint or what issue. Everybody is in an elevated place of anxiety, and that’s what the band gives you. It just pulls all your strings around."
As far as the peacock, Wright explains that because the bandmates didn't want to be in the video, the bird is their surrogate. And as far as other stand-ins are concerned, the band could count on more collaborations in the future.
"They have one other song on the album that I really like that I had a music video idea for," Wright says. "So I’m open. I would do it again."