The xx Sculpture

Video director Saam Farahmand creates a 3D physical interpretation of The xx's debut album at The Vinyl Factory.

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Video director Saam Farahmand, who made his name with his work for Klaxons, Simian Mobile Disco as well as commercial projects for Alexander McQueen Puma, has already predicted that streaming a 3D music video experience through home computers is a surefire inevitability. Until then though, he's attempted to bridge the gap by creating a physical space that is a 3D interpretation of music that aims to immerse the listener into a whole new experience.

Farahmand has dedicated his first 3D "looping shrine" to The xx, who have made impressive strides in 2009. Their richly brooding sound on their debut album can now be experienced through three audio-visual units that emit film, light and sound with each one representing one member of the band. Farahmand quite rightly refers to this sculpture as a 'shrine' to their music, confirmed by the ambiance at the Vinyl Factory last night at the private view where hundreds of candles gave the trio of hulking units a spiritual glow. If you stand in the centre of this musical Stone Henge set-up, equidistant to each unit, and spin around slowly, the point is to see The xx as though they're performing to you by way of the filmed footage, the emitting light and sound at different points through the looped album. We speak to Farahmand about working with The xx, how he sees the progression of 3D video experiences and his visions of an animatronic Lady Gaga.

Dazed Digital: Where did the idea of doing a 3D physical interpretation of music come about?
Saam Farahmand: The idea was just to make physical music videos as a means to further immerse oneself in music.
Hearing music in clubs and parties is often the most powerful experience of music because it soundtracks another emotional narrative you might be experiencing, like celebrating, or falling in love etc... But i think it would be amazing to have a shrine where it is just about you and the music.

DD: Do you see this physical music videos as something that will be a permanent and lasting format?
Saam Farahmand: It may not happen straight away, but one day I hope there are rooms all around the world where people experience physical music videos, as hologram music video booths, animatronic installations, light shows, and other forms. I'm sure one day we will be able to stream a 3D experience through our home computer, but until then perhaps these can bridge the gap.

DD: Is the format genre-specific - i.e. is there a certain type of music that is suited for this type of physical interpretation?
Saam Farahmand: It's essentially the same as a music video, so its for every genre. My dream would be if someone made one for Beyonce.

DD: What drew you to working with The xx on this project?  
Saam Farahmand: The xx who i am a huge fan of, heard I have been trying to make these for a while. I'm very lucky that they took a chance and asked me to make one for their album. We had almost no money because no-one knows how to invest in it, how it will promote music sales in the way that music videos do. Maybe we should charge people to see it?

DD: How does this experience differ to the traditional music video or just listening to the album on its own?
Saam Farahmand: It's different from a music video because you have to make an effort to go and see it, and I think this effort imbues the experience with a sense of reverence, which is rare in a time where so much respect and commitment has been lost in music. I hope there are fans who would appreciate having such an experience. Perhaps that's quite an old school way to think though?

DD: Who would you like to work with next using this 3D sculpture method?
Saam Farahmand: My dream would be that everyone else makes these shrines so that I can go on pilgrimages to them. Stumble into them at midnight on the way home, or hide in one for half an hour with friends on lunch break. Please can someone make one for (Lady Gaga's) Fame Monster album? Can it have 5 animatronic Gaga's that hump each other and I will love you forever.

'xx: A sculpture of the album by Saam Farahmand' at The Vinyl Factory, 51 Poland Street, London W1F from January 8 - 12. Free entry.
To celebrate, a deluxe vinyl version of The xx's album is available at Phonica records (below The Vinyl Factory).

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