Set amongst the abandoned buildings and stark, nostalgic streets of a Chinese ghost town, the new video for Jamie xx’s “Gosh” spins a tale of suffocating emptiness, of purpose lost and found again in pale imitations of an imagined past.
Directed by Romain Gavrais (of M.I.A’s “Paper Planes” and “Bad Girls” video renown) and starring albino actor Hassan Kone, the purposefully obscure plot of “Gosh” seems to take place in a kind of post-apocalyptic future, in which the majority of the population wastes away behind virtual reality goggles. But Kone and his white-clad friends have ditched the VR goggles and taken a look at the real world–the real world, in this case, being the city of Tianducheng, a now-desolate development originally designed as a replica of Parisian architecture.
cThe video’s visual are striking in themselves, but rendered even more impressive with the knowledge that, per NPR, no CGI effects were used in the making of the video–it’s all flesh-and-blood on film. So the scene where Kone and hundreds of others gaze out from their respective balconies? Yeah, that’s just as surreal as it looks. 400 people were cast in the video.
By the end of the video, the eerily emotive Kone becomes a God to the group of young blonde bowl-cutted boys. Underneath the replica Eiffel tower, he is the center of a perfectly synchronized ritual-dance. It’s a triumphant end to a profoundly strange video, swelling along with the climax of the song; after watching, you’ll want to sit and mull it over for a moment.
But what does it all mean? No idea.
It’s not what you imagined the first time you heard the song, surely–but now that you’ve seen it, will you be able to imagine anything else? This video was designed to haunt, and haunt it does.