DIIV: Raining On Your Pillow - Video Out Today

behind the slomo: an uncompressed look into the ideas and production of new experimental film for the band, DIIV

DIIV: Raining On Your Pillow - Video Out Today

by Jak Ritger

A new video for dream grunge four-piece, DIIV is out today. Raining On Your Pillow is directed by TRLLM (Jak & K8) with original drawings by Fall River visionary, Harry Gould Harvey IV. K8 edited as I filmed over the course of months.

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This video project came together in one of those very serendipitous moments that makes you want to start believing in the quantum programming of the universe or some such. Here are the Cliffs Notes: My search for intriguing art in the Boston area lead me to a brilliant emerging institution known as "Fall River Museum of Contemporary Art" (more on my experience at FR.MoCA soon). The small but formidable project space gallery is piloted by Brittni Ann Harvey and Harry Gould Harvey IV. I clicked with these two immediately, sharing a love of eccentric artists, tech criticism and socially engaged practice. We attended the whirlwind "Debates in AI" symposium at RISD in April where we discussed the role of AI in the future of art and labor with various speakers and attendees. These conversations informed the development of the video project that unfolded in the stochastic soup of fate late that month.

Harry was first to put me on to DIIV's new record release run for "Frog in Boiling Water". It utilized a playfully schizophrenic mix net-art, conspiracy and spoof video. The band played SNL in an alternate reality hosted by Fred Durst while a military general directs the optics. DIIV partners with a shady corporate firm "Soul-Net" releasing a website and video to communicate the virtues of the partnership, which spurs an activist reaction: a group called F.I.B.W. (Freedom In A Boundless World) drops a doxxy website to expose the truth. My interest in Psychological Operations was piqued. Harry, who had a connection to the band, reached out to see if we could help contribute to their speculative folklore building, and one thing lead to another and ROYP video was born.

Left: Still from FIBW.org website exposing the truth about DIIV. - Right: The lore goes IRL this Saturday in Long Beach, CA.

For months, I had been filming just about everything with a rare handheld extremely high-speed slow-motion camera that I was introduced to in animation school where it was used for motion studies. The small pixel size (240x160) created moirรฉ patterns out of grids and lines. The high-frame rate exposed the flickering electrical currents in lights and froze bodies like statues. I became addicted to filming with it, sometimes experiencing regret when a scene was so perfect but the camera was not on hand, which K8 described as "Slomo Fomo." Later, chatting with Harry, he dubbed the way that the camera uncovered a hidden material reality a "slipstream ontology." When the DIIV music video project came along, the song was the perfect vessel for these images of the strangeness of contemporary life.

Once the music video project started in earnest, it was a mad dash (as it always is) to piece together something cohesive and comprehensive. Responding to the themes and story of the song (read the band's description below) we created a concept working with the high-speed footage. then I filmed more material around the concept while K8 started cutting the already amassed archive and Harry drew out a list of prompts along with a series of strange and wonderful pseudo-diagrams: a frog-schematic, a bullet with branching vectors. I did a studio visit with the Harveys, filming Harry in the studio and the Afghan War Rug on his wall. It all came together in a way I could never have for-seen but in hindsight feels inevitable. Here are some materials we put together for the press release.

Still from "Raining On Your Pillow" by DIIV. From left: a helicopter slips through the air - surreal snow flurry at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Robbinsville, NJ - bullet slipstream ontology overlays brand new devirtualized landscape in Allston, MA

DIIV (Andrew Bailey, Colin Caulfield, Ben Newman, and Zachary Cole Smith) describe the song as:

"โ€˜Raining on Your Pillowโ€™ is a song which brings to mind the shameful past (and present) of American imperialism. Lost in a terrifying landscape, a lone soldier ruminates on the existence of a landscape of his own far removed from conflict. Does it matter if this place is real or not? Is a false sense of hope enough to give our lives meaning in the midst of despair? A looping guitar figure plays underneath a driving rhythm in a cloud of murky atmosphere of analog synths and tape loops. Menacing, doomed, and strangely hopeful.โ€
Clockwise from Left: Filming in Allston with a grid laser, the clip ends up as the visual for a coded message in teaser, Cole films Bailey taking an aqueduct dunk while Colin holds the flood light, the clip is upside down & reversed for a waterfall fade.

An artist statement for the release of the video:

For the final installment of the โ€œFrog In Boiling Waterโ€ album release, DIIV has created a conceptual film in the guise of a music video for the single โ€œRaining on Your Pillow.โ€ The band collaborated with experimental film directing team, TRLLM (Jak Ritger & K8 Howl) and visionary fine artist, Harry Gould Harvey IV. Together, the group translated the songs themes of military desertion, desire for solace and challenging oneโ€™s ideology into an abstract collage of high-speed videography and hand-drawings.
The film picks up threads from the ongoing saga of subterfuge established by DIIVโ€™s album release run: Soul-Net, the evil corporation that the band has partnered with has created a secret hyper-advanced AI named S.E.P.I.A. or Spiritual Enhancement Protocol & Intelligent Augmentation. The S.E.P.I.A. program was shut down abruptly but many believe that it has escaped its hardware and roams the world.
Left: Bassist, Colin Caulfield catches the CRT Glow - Right: Drummer, Ben Newman glides through the supermarket. This scene is inspired by a conversation about taking acid and having a realization about global capitalism in front of the spice rack at grocery store - listen on the DIIV podcast.
โ€œRaining on Your Pillowโ€ is the last known transmission from S.E.P.I.A. We are put into its hyper-speed POV (which appears as ultra-slomo) as it hunts for DIIV, who have now defected from Soul-Net and joined with the protest group named Freedom In A Boundless World (F.I.B.W). We watch as S.E.P.I.A. discovers โ€œThe Architectโ€ played by Harry Gould Harvey IV and absorbs his thoughts. His drawings infect the system opening up divergent pathways.
As the film progresses, we traverse the strange landscape of contemporary life. The rare 2005 handheld high-speed camera used to capture these scenes unveils hidden moirรฉ patterns beneath architecture and nature. The band hides out behind flickering TVs. The textures and rhythms of the song echo through highways, rivers, battleships, textiles, corridors, birds and planes.
The video concludes with an ominous yet hopeful image: S.E.P.I.A. disappears into a flickering night light, full of all the complex and contradictory images that make modern life so confusing. But, with the understanding that by living with the mess, looking beneath or in-between, we can begin to uncover the cognitive maps that hold together our existence.
Film still featuring an artwork by Brittni Ann Harvey, There was Silence in Heaven about the Space of Half an Hour & I Couldnโ€™t Help but Hear the Humming of Machines, 2024, Jacquard-woven fabric