Last year brought with it the “mannequin challenge,” a trending social media phenomenon in which people attempt to create or mimic photographic scenes, but in 3d, and, seemingly, in real time. It’s as though you could walk through a picture frozen in time. But what if the picture and its subjects are imposed on the living outside world? Something uncannily still set against a bustling, restless reality? Such seems the bizarre concept of the video for “Le Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe,” a new track from LGHQ (Lazar Bozic of The Sediment Club and Garrett Rosenblum). It’s a human still-life; scenes of the everyday, but out of place, and unnatural. To start, two candles are simultaneously lit, and race to the end of their wicks, as the screen strobes white, and an irksome pattering sound consumes your speakers, making you think something is amiss.
The visuals for the song itself then open in an extreme close-up and pan backwards, a single tracking shot increasingly revealing until its end. First, an apparent bathroom scene; a bent figure covered in towels, looking to reach to turn off a non-existent shower. Next, a trio of ambiguous vagabond figures, oddly clothed and resting on a blanket with their wares, perhaps either peddling them or just waiting for something else. Scenes that should be full of life, but are not. Scenes that should be somewhere specific, but are arbitrarily set on the outside of a warehouse loading dock.
The biggest reveal of the camera’s backwards pan is the movement of everything not central in the video: Pedestrian passersby, cars, and then the scenery itself. Certain pigments are sectioned off (the walls, the garage doors, the ground), individualized. And they move, just slightly back and forth, as though the picture itself is breathing, an unorthodox body with several sets of lungs, all spaced out and timed randomly. The song itself is Bozic’s contribution to the Ramp Local compilation, Eclectic Sessions Vol. 2, which came out in December. It’s a soundtrack to a Lynchian dream, warbled, jazzy, and weirdly unsettling. Its barebones construction of bass and minimal percussion allow for the focus to lay on the dystopian grief of the vocals. “Trying to talk, but no one is paying attention.” America might feel this way today.