Careful by Alice Saey Careful by Alice Saey

“On the borderless map of a magical planet, little beings pick, brush, weave, fish and collect elements from their natural environment to sustain their life as a group. This essential balance turns to chaos once they misuse their findings to polish their individual appearance.”

Music video for Jo Goes Hunting’s “Careful” directed by Alice Saey, Netherlands/France, 2020. Produced by De Nieuwe Oost and Miyu Productions.

Statement from director Alice Saey:

The song navigates between the possible meanings of the word: careful as in “full of care,” as in “meticulous,” careful as in “being cautious,” “discreet,” or careful as a warning for imminent danger. I took the simultaneousness of these concepts as a conflict: that of wanting to be safe, aware, accepted while craving to stand out and be noticed, regardless of what surrounds you. Hinting at the ambivalence of the mantra “Careful,” the animation acts as two sides of the same coin: the fascination for uniqueness and diversity becomes overshadowed by self-obsession and vanity.

The repetition creates a distortion between what you hear and you think you hear. Reflecting on the music, I wanted to install an ambiguity between what you see and what you think you see. In a non-linear approach, the animation plays with coexisting loops and rich detail. The accumulation of small events blend in together in an abstract magnetic set-up, allowing the perception to be different each time.

I developed a universe teeming with cycles and magical elements: fruit oil, lave pearls, strawberry skeletons, egg cages, flower pipes… All these become accessories for the humans to explore their own singularity. Yet, by doing so, the collectivity is disrupted. Self-admiration takes over, closing the protagonists inside their own bubble, as the landscape is torn apart. The camera is no longer a window into the macrocosm but a mirror for the characters. In order to visually materialize this shift, I chose to combine two visual spaces: one of timeless, physical geographical maps and scientific illustrations together with the contemporary, virtual space of social media and profile pictures.

I drew a collection of micro-scenes which all had in common the relationship between living creatures and the way they use and affect their environment. The compositions play with the multiplicity, confusion, and repetition of forms in nature. A trip to Indonesia also impressed me in several ways. Firstly, the art of Batik prints and the symbolism of the patterns, which infused in the artwork for the album. Secondly, the relationship of people with nature: the contrast between the locals blending and manually collaborating with the landscape and the tourists using it as a decor for Instagram selfies. This observation stuck with me for the development of “Careful.”

“Careful” is part of a larger visual campaign designed for the release of Jo Goes Hunting’s second album Front Row. The graphic universe that unfolds in the animation was also turned into a pattern and printed on fabric, as a 3x8m stage backdrop surrounding the musicians on stage.

Examples below of Saey’s graphic research for the film:

Careful by Alice Saey Careful by Alice Saey Careful by Alice Saey Careful by Alice Saey

Direction, concept, design by Alice Saey
Animation: Nienke Deutz, Daan Faudet, Wiep Teeuwisse, Alice Saey
Editing: Alice Saey, Ruben van Asselt
All music composed, recorded and written by Jimmi Jo Hueting
Saxophone by Nicolò Francesco Ricci
Mixed by Simon Akkermans and Jimmi Hueting
Mastered by Jerboa
Funding from Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie and CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée

More Films by Alice Saey