This is absolutely amazing, both technologically and creatively. Director Vincent Morisset and Aaron Koblin at Google team up with Arcade Fire (who also collaborated on The Wilderness Downtown) to create a hypnotic mix of sinister and irreverent, with exuberant joy and desperate colour, hopeful faces and shielding costumes.
The novelty of Just a Reflektor is largely in the interaction between your phone and your computer screen. You get access to the desktop web via a code you type into your phone, which you then hold up to the computer’s camera. For the first part of the video, your phone is “beaming” light and clarity at the image. Move your hand holding the phone, which has to be facing the screen, and what you see changes, it becomes more lucid or even switches image. For the second part of the video, after the mirror (= reflector!!) scene, your phone shows a different segment. Very, very cool.
The song is perfect for the video, or the video for the song, as it talks about the technological age and how it comes between real human connections:
“I thought I found a way to enter
It’s just a reflector
I thought I found the connector
It’s just a reflector.”
A thought-provoking song which makes us reflect (yes) on relationships and reality, especially when you realize you’re experiencing it via not one but two screens. And the especially cool part of the experience has to do with reflections, of light and of images.
“Now the signals we send
are deflected again.
We’re so connected,
but are we even friends?”
Is deflected the same as reflected?
The irony comes in with the presence of passion. For passion you need connection, not reflection. At the beginning of the video, the faces are remarkably passionless, but as the story unfolds, passion becomes a protagonist, along with it’s main fuel source, light.
In this case, reflected light.
“Trapped in a prison,
in a prism of light.
Alone in the darkness,
a darkness of white.
We fell in love,
alone on a stage,
in the reflective age.”
Light can blind (the darkness of white), literally and figuratively. With so much media in our lives (a prism of light), can we be free to really connect?
Which brings us to the last part of the video. The image on your phone doesn’t match the image on the screen. Until you turn your phone to face the screen. Again, you’re watching through two screens. And controlling. The screens are connecting. Is that the way we break free?