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Baloji - Zombie film

Baloji’s incredible new film confronts zombie culture and shared isolation

Zombie is a 14-minute short film from the Congolese-born, Belgium-based musician, shot over four days in Kinshasa

In an epic new 14-minute short film, featuring the tracks “Spotlight” and “Glossine” from his album 137 Avenue Kaniama, released last year on Bella Union, Congolese-born musician Baloji tackles our obsession with being ever-connected and always-on.

“My phone as an extension of my right hand seemed like an interesting angle to address some of the themes that fascinate me,” the Belgian-based musician says. “Including our passive addictions, fear of missing out on news, our visceral need to share events, our inability to choose where we want to be because we’re in several places at once – but ultimately nowhere.

“I was also reflecting on how we stage and edit our lives in real time,” he continues. “And the distance from the people around us that comes from this ‘shared isolation’.” The video also serves as an announcement that his label will be re-releasing 137 Avenue Kaniama on May 3 – this time as a one-track mixtape called Kaniama: The Yellow Version.

Premiering today on NOWNESS, Zombie, shot over four days in Kinshasa, was directed by Baloji himself and opens with the dancefloor and selfie action in a nightclub, before heading out into the streets where the scenes grows increasingly surreal and the styling more outlandish – including dancers in gloriously shambolic ensembles and symbolic-laden garb.

“The ‘beekeeper’ dancer’s outfit is very graphic and was build as a reference to this toxic relationship – like an X-ray-protective jacket keep away the phone waves,” Baloji explains. “The helmet made of cauri (shell) was inspired by the Beninese artist Emo Medeiros, and the use of this natural material is to make a temporality switch in order to question the impact of technology on traditions, and vice versa.”

Watch out for figures clad in onesies made of bottletops, and condoms, for one, and the T-shirts declaring ‘Ubiquitous’, and ‘Has Left The Group’ as comments on social media.

A self-taught director who was behind the camera for several of his other videos (NOWNESS premiered “Unité & Litre” and “Capture”,) also masterminded Zombie’s writing, art direction and styling.

“Generally I work with lots of passion and fun on the styling,” he says of his inventive, hybrid approach blending what he calls “tribal and neo futurist reference”.

“These are the elements that made you believe in a story or not. Styling cannot be too cold or too fashionesque like a Solange video where you can see that the clothes have never been worn before.”

Watch Zombie below.

Kaniama: The Yellow Version is out May 3