iamamiwhoami – Semiotics UnderCover


Category : Entertainment, art


- decoding iamamiwhoami – the beginnings

- A Closer Look To iamamiwhoami’s b Video

iamamiwhoami’s o video

- u-1

- u-2

- n from Nature/Natural

- T – back in the kingdom we were Kings and Queens

- And this is Y all that’s left is Hope

- Iamamiwhoami – 20101001 – Volunteer

- Identity in Iamamiwhoami

- An Archetypal and Mythological Approach to Iamamiwhoami

- Iamamiwhoami – The Book Of Changes – Hexagram Theory

- Iamamiwhoami – Media Coverage

Iamamiwhoami has gotten us used to all these clues and all these symbols throughout the entire campaign, it was almost impossible not to leave some hidden messages in the covers of the BOUNTY singles!

But first, some general things concerning the appearance and content of the covers.


Hand writing is a means of personal recognition. It functions like a finger print. If the fingerprint can establish the physical appearance of an individual by leading directly to his identity, analyzing the writing of a person could lead to the discovery of that person’s psychic. The lines on the iamamiwhoami covers appear to be written with the help of a writing machine. This suggest that the content is meant to be general and impersonal. Neither the sender of the message, nor the recipient are supposed to be pointed out, not even implied.  This is sustained strongly by the expression ‘To whom it may concern.”, which  is a formal salutation used for opening letters to an unknown recipient.

The fact that the writing is not written directly on the covers, but is pre-written on pieces of white (again, as general as possible) paper and then glued on suggests: a) again, like in those crime movies, the sender is totally detached and doesn’t want to be known and b) the content is made for mass distribution, therefore it’s faster to stick ‘etiquettes’ on than to write on so many times.


The content of all covers consists of two lines:

1. To whom it may concern. The impersonal character of this expression reaches its higher limit. It doesn’t say ‘to whom this may concern’, so the sender detaches himself from the destiny of his message. The formulaic is similar to ‘this communication is intended for anyone that it has importance for’, or ‘to the person that cares or who it’s basically for’. This ‘concern’ is important, because it has the power to render the idea that the recipient cares for the message, a thing that implies a humane feeling.

2. iamamiwhoami; b/o/u-1/n/t/y The position in which this line is placed, implies that this concerns the sender of the message and the content.


Punctuation is very important in establishing meaning in communication:

1. ‘.’ (full stop) – The full stop (dot) indicates a finished thought or sentence. It’s commonly used in statements. A statement is a declarative proposition that has a meaning which is either true or false. The full stop is also known as ‘period’. When we say “You’re not going out, period!” we deny any type of feed back from our listener, we don’t give him a chance to even try to change our mind. Usually, in letters, ‘to whom it may concern’ is followed by a comma, so iamamiwhoami has placed that full stop over there with a purpose.

It’s like they’re saying: if you care, open this package, if you don’t, it doesn’t matter, we still have other 5 (at least) prepared! But you, my friends, could be privileged. Aren’t you curious of what’s inside? Haha! No, I’ve said it before, it’s the way in which they chose to show they are launching a new artistic product on the market. Any product like that is first destined to those who care (like the genre) or who are inquisitive enough to give it a listen.

2. ‘;’ (semicolon) – In elder times, the semicolon mark was used to separate words of opposed meaning, and to indicate interdependent statements, but the modern uses of the semicolon relate either to the listing of items, or to the linking of related clauses. In this case, it relates the sender to the content of the message. It resembles ‘by iamamiwhoami, concerning b/o/u/n/t/y’, or, if we think of the listing of items: ‘iamamiwhoami’s artistic products; b/o/u/n/t/y’ Thus, we should have known we were in for more since the first cover.

Again, the normal appearance of this line should have been ‘iamamiwhoami: b’ (as in b, by iamamiwhoami, or iamamiwhoami’s b), therefore, the semicolon has a special purpose, probably that of drawing the recipient of the message towards the final result: bounty.

And now, to the analyzing of other signs on the covers.

B cover

The cover for b seems to be a cardboard envelope. An envelope is a packaging means. Metaphorically, it is a content/meaning bearer. The meaning of a cardboard envelope is: an impersonal message that bears a secret and makes the reader vow secrecy. To whom it may concern is, of course, placed where the destination is usually written on an envelope, when one sends a letter.

This is a clear message from iamamiwhoami: I have something big/important to say and the way I am doing it is by sending a ‘cardboard envelope’ to important people. That is I have a revolutionary message to transmit to the world and I’m starting by sending my music to the people who (might) like it.

Cardboard is often encountered in the iamamiwhoami’s videos. Again, I consider it – in all its forms: envelope, box – a bearer of meaning. We mustn’t forget that cardboard boxes are in fact cubes, which are perfect shapes in space geometry.


O video

The cover of O seems to be a piece of wood. As opposed to the B video, when ‘to whom it may concern’ was glued to an envelope, therefore the message was sent to the reader, with O, the reader is drawn to hear the message at the location. It’s like to whom it may concern is marking a point of evidence: O happened here. Inside the house, of course.

If you take a closer look, right under the ‘to whom’ etiquette, you can distinguish a substance, which appears to be liquid, by no means belonging to or coming from the wood, but which rather seems to be spat on. I’m thinking glue. By the looks of it and how it tends to drip, the piece of wood stands vertically, gravitation doing its thing. This is not floor wood. This is the edge of something, probably of a door. The aspect of the wood is faded, it has a darker, more porous texture and it has all sorts of defects, like scratches and stains. This is an old piece of wood. It reminds me of how the house looked in the 6th pre-vid.

What’s important is that wood represents one of the most often encountered in the entire campaign. If this is on the upper part of the cadre of a door, like in the beginning of B video, then it means ‘you’re here, this is the location’.

I’m not totally confident this is what the cover of O portrays. I may not see things as they actually are. I’m sure there’s more.


U-1, U-2 cover

The wood on the U-1 cover has the power to shine, thus looking a little bit more polished than the O one. This time we’re dealing with a piece of veneer. Probably the one inside the wooden house. The only abnormal things in the pictures are the scratches and the fact that the ‘to whom’ is placed in an awkward position, which makes tilt our heads to the right to read it properly. This could be a signal of the fact that the campaign suddenly goes in a weird direction. I remember the first time I saw u-1 ans u-2, I was shocked. Also, this could be telling the picture should be rotated once towards right in order to get it right. The scratches are a sign of some sort of conflict. I remember the Mandra scratching wood. Probably to get out, to be free.

Also, ‘iamamiwhoami; u-1′ is placed a little bit to the left, but I’m thinking is for the sake of the design. Those wooden ‘eyes’ look pretty awesome, especially when you’re looking at the wood in a vertical position.

However, the image shows the pieces of wood horizontally, which means they have been placed like that with a specific purpose. I am thinking… there are three of them… they might be referring to the three levels of consciousness: the conscious, subconscious and unconscious. It could make sense, as one is darker than the other (check the dark spots), as one level hides more than the other.

if so, the scatches could represent what gets to the surface and the dark spots are the things which are well hidden.


N cover

We finally have the provenience of the pieces of paper ‘to whom’ and ‘iamamiwhoami’ came from on all other covers. The N cover consists of clean white paper, no cuts, just layered and a pin. I suppose we’re in the house from where everything was sent.

Paper is another important element in the iamamiwhoami campaign. At first we were thinking it has to do with wood again (and it does, still) and the process through which wood becomes paper (one of the stages being cardboard). Then we discovered about that knight story and his lady page, and everything started to make a little bit more sense, but the truth is nothing is sure.

Flying sheets of paper could imply the unfolding of the course of a story. In N, therefore on its cover, sheets of paper build the walls of a house in the forest and they cover mirrors, to prevent them from reflecting what dwells in the house.

The design of the cover is simple, the lines are in place, just like in a formal letter towards an unknown recipient. The only interesting thing is that there are 6 sheets of paper. Count them! They’re 6! Held together by the pin. 6 stories. 6 scripts for 6 complete videos. Remember the kid director in N?


T cover

Aaaah, the foil again… :)

Ok, so the cover of T is a piece of aluminum foil, which has been used for wrapping something, after which it has been stretched in order to reveal the content. In this case, the two lines. As if the reader of this message found an aluminum foil ball on the ground and when it opened it, that’s what was inside.

Or this piece of used aluminum foil it’s being reused and given another purpose in ‘life’ (that of a messenger) than that of a means of packaging. I remember when I was little I used to unwrap the tin foil the chocolate candies were wrapped in and use it for collage paintings. I could see a little bit of ‘my’ stretching technique under ‘to whom’ and ‘iamami’, lol! I used to stretch it with a coin!


Y cover

One of my favorite covers, because it’s the most ambiguous. I see hair, a lot of it and two types of it: straight and curly. This is quite simple: the straight hair belongs to the wild Mandragora while the curled one stands for the beauty in Y. But metaphorically… that’s another story.

If you have read “Wuthering Heights’, you would know how Catherine, the main character, used to describe the loves of her life. Because she loved two men: an educated, rich man and a poor, uneducated (but very shecshey, aha), violent one. That left aside, she used to describe the educated one as a river stone, as in polished and having a smooth surface and shape, and she used to describe the wild one as a cliff rock, as in unpolished and very rough.

Can you see what I am hinting at?

Ok, now, the fact that these pieces of hair are laying on the ground is very important. Because it’s a sign that the campaign is over and we’re heading for a reveal. It’s like Jonna left her wigs aside, the wigs being part of her cover. It’s like Mandra has completed her cycle and is now just a mask.

Oh, hey… and check this out:

Llamas have two types of fiber-guard hair and undercoat hair. The guard hair usually grows faster, is hollow, courser and straighter than the undercoat. These guard hair tends to effect snow and rain and help to run off water, debris tends not stick to the guard hair. The undercoat usually is finer, with much more crimp than the guard hair. These two factors create more loft which keep the llama warmer in winter by trapping in the body heat and in the summer allows the wind to cool the body better.

I guess we’ll see in the next video.


semicolon mark to separate words of opposed meaning, and to indicate interdependent statements



Category : Entertainment, Food for Thought, Music and Movies, art


- decoding iamamiwhoami – the beginnings
- A Closer Look To iamamiwhoami’s b Video
- iamamiwhoami’s o video
- u-1
- u-2
- n from Nature/Natural
- T – back in the kingdom we were Kings and Queens
- And this is Y all that’s left is Hope

- Iamamiwhoami – Sources of Inspiration
- Identity in iamamiwhoami
- An Archetypal and Mythological Approach to iamamiwhoami
- iamamiwhoami official youtube channel



A quien le coresponda

You gave me life
In return I’ll just pretend
You can watch it burn
In the ashes of your town
In the ashes of your town
We would build it back down

You gave me life
We would build it back down
In the ashes of your town
In the ashes of your town
We would build it back down

The u-1 audio on reverse here.

The big surprise with u-1 is that the iamamiwhoami concept is getting back to its roots. That is we’re not being offered a proper music video, as we have had in the case of b and o, but we’re getting drawn back to the riddle, thus our interest being aroused once more. The greatest thing about this move is that even though we do know the identity of the messenger (Jonna Lee and her band mates – it’s pretty clear to most users hovering around the iamamiwhoami youtube channel), we’re now being given something more, something deeper: the chance to leave the quest for a name aside and get back on board towards a new quest: a strongly encoded journey towards discovering how imagery renders MEANING. Many of us were skeptical with regards to how this glide would be made and how successful the campaign would be after the induced reveal. We were thinking: no one would give a damn about this after a name would appear/ be suggested. However, here we are, still clinging on it, and this – to me – only means that the creators of the concept are after promoting a high-quality product first and then after building a name. It’s a reversed advertising technique which most of the times ends badly, but if done correctly and thoroughly, can generate enormous amounts of success (see Trent Reznor pioneering it with Year Zero).

Long story short, we’re back in the mad house we’ve already been introduced to in the ‘b’ video, this time in the room of one of the patients, easily recognizable by furniture. If at first we’re expecting to deal again with at least two characters, the Mandragora being one of them, in the end we discover that the man has actually manufactured an MO of his own. A treatment of his own. It’s clear he’s disturbed, since his mind is building up an entire dialogue when the only real person in the room is himself.

Judging from this point of view, the woods he’s running through are just a figment of his lost, disturbed mind, a projection of his tourmented soul. He’s probably not even moving from the room he’s confined in (he has no clothes).

A mad man kept under control by drugs. By a certain drug: MO.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve reached this up to now, but this game of mirrors really draws my thoughts towards the myth of androgyny. This u-1. Many people tend to see it as purely mathematical language applied to the alphabet. As in u minus 1 is T, thus fueling the theory according to which the final video would reveal the name of the project and this name is BOTANY. I don’t disregard this thesis, because, if you think of it, it really makes sense. But I’d like to believe iamamiwhoami is better than this. Botany is predictable. Not wrong, but predictable and it would take away from the mystery of this entire riddle.

Back to the androgyny thing. See the myth says that every being was half man and half woman and after a certain event, one half has been lost, thus the other is forever searching for the part that completes it. It is also known that both men and women have two sides: a masculine side and a feminine one. As far as this short video is regarded, I can relate to this theory. Think of the man as having lost his feminine side, or his half. Here, MO.

Now think of how many explanations you can offer to the use of the mirror in this entire story. A mirror is supposed to reflect the objective reality and offer a virtual image of whatever is mirrored in it. In this case, if the objective reality portrays a (mad, probably) man holding a puppet on his lap, the virtual image is a reversed image of the first one, thus we have the puppet becoming alive and speaking/singing. We cannot forget the fact that we’re dealing with a ventriloquist, a thing which may strengthen my androgyny approach: the feminine side – a softer side which is capable of producing such extraordinary sounds, etc – is actually being given life by the masculine side. The man controls the puppet, even though we’ve initially been made to think the opposite. Thing is that a ventriloquist uses his hand in order to control a puppet. One’s hand is considered to be an elongation of one’s mind. When we speak, we also move our hands, in order to sustain and complete the meaning of what we are saying. Even more, there is never just ONE person in a ventriloquist. You can easily take such a person as being bi-polar.

Another interesting thing with this image is the way in which the man and the woman are placed in those two realities. If in the objective reality the man is placed on the right (when looking towards the objective image) and the woman on the left, suggesting again that the man is in control and he has the power, the virtual image presents the man on the left and the woman on the right (when looking from the objective reality), thus reversing their position and status at the same time. The woman is controlling the man through her hypnotic voice.

That fact that the mirror is broken in two – a larger part, the man part and a smaller one, belonging to the woman) only comes to complete my ideas.

I thought of reaching the idea of the woman getting control over a man’s mind after noticing the past references iamamiwhoami has made for her videos. They all seem to deal with some sort of feminist approach. I can only translate this as Jonna Lee putting an end to solo female singers not being given enough credit or not being allowed to display their creativity and have their efforts recognized. To sustain this idea, think that the virtual image is a crooked one. The mirror is broken. Maybe this is exactly the message: not everything you see on TV nowadays is what you see/good/of quality. Give objective reality a chance!

Back to reality, that was just an approach.

  • The language in which MO sings is English, it’s just distorted. I’ve listened to the audio many times, around 1:05-1:07 I can easily distinguish “You, you gave me life”. Also, the audio starts with “You gave me life”.
  • The man appearing in the video reminds me of Salma Hayek’s character in Cirque Du Freak. The bearded Lady. A clear connection to that androgyny I was talking about.



Similar makeup I guess. However, the references is somewhat Indian, wouldn’t you agree?

  • The materials used to build the puppet is paper, thread and tape (hence, WOOD). Same colors as the room in the house (hence the puppet is one with the house). The same tape is used for the man’s beard. This tells me the following:
  1. - the man states that he’s not actually a man: “I’m using fake beard and eyebrows to make myself look like a man.”
  2. - the man has not reached his maturity
  3. - the process the man is currently undergoing is a reversed process the Mandragora has undergone. She’s been through mud, feeding herself with wood, running bare naked through the woods, she’s suffered transformations until she finally came to flesh and bones. The man is going in reverse, starting to lose flesh and replace it with WOOD (paper is made from wood) and he’s also starting to run naked in the woods, lol.
  • The man does talk. Actually he’s mumbling something throughout the entire audio.
  • This is not the last video in this campaign.

Other opinions to support video analysis:

A big shout out at everybody on iamamiwhoami’s youtube channel and board! I met a couple of very passionate people that trully make sense in their attempts to solve/decode all these visual messages. Because, in the end, all we can do is ATTEMPT to explain.This is what I’m doing here as well.


As some of you have pointed out, the first six videos tell the story of how the Mandragora came to be; from its birth to how it came out after the death of the dogs, etc. as explained in lore. In ‘b’, she’s captured/imprisoned by these men who listen to her songs (or shrieks for that matter), almost siren-like. They leave her to further grow in ‘o’ until she bloomed and ran away. Come ‘u-1′ the man refuses to forget about the ‘b’ girl so he made a puppet. Or maybe, he is still under the trance/hallucination caused by the mandragora as it ran away. Maybe in the next video we will see Mandy running away or something.

Modern medicine gives it the dignified appellation of Bryonia Alba, and accredits the drug with vexatious, vivid dreams and somnambulism. Sounds rather than colors are attendant upon the dreams of mandrake, or BRIONY; now the chirping of locusts in the hedges, and again it is the roaring of a storm, the pealing of an organ or the swinging harmony of the spheres. The flowers sing, the earth speaks and the woes of humanity cry aloud. Besides these there are strange cravings, a longing for that which never existed even in the soul of a dreamer. So upon the whole, despite its marvels as a producer of sounds and despite its high reputation as a soporific with so mighty a sage as Shakespeare, it is perhaps best for moderns not to build their dreams with mandragora.


it’s obvious this is the last video. it was never a “campaign” as some kept insisting. simply a collection of well-produced, and magnificently thought-out aesthetically appealing clips, released one by one to keep us waiting, guessing (some ridiculously far-fetched, but i digress..)
we all tossed and turned for four months until she revealed herself in the second to last video, as a sort of glamorous/ethereal greenhouse siren. and now with this, in my opinion beautifully concluding video, an anxious man in his underwear is running, chasing this voice and vision of a girl. (he obviously represents us, the audience.) he reaches her only to find she is a mirage, a fantasy built up in his (our) mind/s.

we all built her up, but she never existed in the first place. this video should be enough closure.

it’s powerful message, once you let it resonate.


Just looking at Jonna Lees Finally post on her iLike blog. Weirdly, the post isnt called Finally. Its called April 28, even though it was posted on the morning of April 27. I thought April 28 might be significant so I cross-checked it with the usual suspects:
On this date in 1911, Lee Falk, American comic strip writer, was born. He wrote MANDRAKE the Magician.
On this date in 1789, there was a mutiny on the HMS Bounty leaving Captain William Bligh adrift. VANUATU was one of the islands on the ships voyage.
On this date in 1770, Captain James Cook lands at BOTANY Bay in Australia. He charted and named the New Hebrides islands, now VANUATU.




Finally You Won.


The man is a gardener. He’s crazy, driven mad by a mandrake scream he once tried to harvest.. He lives in his bothay.  He specializes in growing mandrakes. When the mandrakes are ripe, he harvests them. Then he makes dolls out of them. He either sells them, or sells time to be with one while they sing.

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