In response to ‘Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)’, Most Dismal Swamp (MDS) has worked with a group of artists to build a virtual environment and film a narrative within it. MDS began by “situating the voice in the song that seemed to be stuck in a moment, thinking of another time and even another timeline. The old and despondent teddy bear is the character I decided would inhabit this space—lost in reverie and nightmare, somewhere between nostalgia and anxiety.”
So tonight lead singer Matty Healy becomes a bear; a bear in his little bedroom that sings of an unnamed pain; a bear that wishes he was your boy.
MDS is a collective art project by Dane Sutherland, who describes it as a “mixed-reality biome”, amongst many other things: “ a multi-scalar mystic fiction … a curatorial MMORPG … a planetary weirding studio.” He’s interested in world-building and likes to collaborate with other artists on composite mixed realities like this one.
Inspired by the album’s exploration of technology, hope and anxiety, MDS decided to build a gamer’s bedroom with the GVN908 collective. In this bedroom lives a despondent, lovestruck teddy bear, modelled by Hannah Rose Stewart. He has a view of the world outside, of an expansive meadow through a distorting baroque window, and also a view of the world inside, through his computer screen, on which an animation by Tissue Hunter and 3D model by Olia Svetlanova become bad thoughts that haunt him; cursed images that leak out into his room, and maybe also into yours.
The film, MDS hopes, has the same dreamlike quality as the song it accompanies: “A bittersweet dream where you’d get lost, then have that feeling amplified by the shock of your actual reality when the dream ends.”
Directed by Most Dismal Swamp
UE development and filming by GVN908
Character design (teddy) by Hannah Rose Stewart
Character design (winged creature) by Olia Svetlanova
2D animations by Tissue Hunter
Editing and storyboards by Most Dismal Swamp
VFX by Samuel Capps
Most Dismal Swamp responds to ‘Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)’