u-1

4

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

REFERENCES:

- 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

u-1

Lyrics:

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.

beard

salma

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.

samchanso

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.

anglfsh

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.

Unplugged70

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.

Also

Finally

U-1

Finally You Won.

g733n734

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.

iamamiwhoami ‘o’ video

14

Category : Entertainment, Food for Thought, Music and Movies

REFERENCES:

- 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

Alright, just like in the case of the b video, let’s take a closer look at iamamiwhoami’s new piece of work: o.

Watch the video then follow me:

Lyrics:

I thought I felt a spark
Thought I saw a flame
When something changed in you
Who took the blame?

My plan was foolproof
As I became
A fortress of your heart

Love
(Love, love)
The kind that kills and scars
And make you kneel and crawl
To hell and back
(Love, love)
The words that slit your throat
And make you think of love
As the new black
As what you lack
Love

The sound of letting go
A side of you
That we all set aside
When the world was new

Under the full moon
Only endless rain
An absence of your heart

Love
(Love, love)
The kind that kills and scars
And make you kneel and crawl
To hell and back
(Love, love)
The words that slit your throat
And make you think of love
As the new black
As what you lack
Love

First and foremost, bravo for another astonishing creation, you guys! I suppose we’re in for at least other four.

Back to our business. We’re dealing this time with what I would call a tree nursery (a greenhouse, a hothouse – but tree nursery fits the entire concept better, you’ll see). Hints:

- we’re in a room filled with pots in which small trees are growing. The pots are arranged in a symmetrical way, on rows, with spaces between, allowing branches to grow freely
lighttreeview
- the ceiling is made of plexiglas, allowing a certain amount of light to come through
bag2
- the Mandragora itself seems to be growing
- she’s first covered in some sort of netting. Netting is often used to cover small and young trees/plants in order to protect them from certain insects that could lay eggs on their leafs, thus damaging them
bag1
- the collar she’s wearing is also used as a means of protection, this time from creatures that could climb – squirrels for example – in trees/plants to eat their fruits
collar1
- her feet are painted in white paint up to her knees as a means of protection from insects crawling up and from fungus developing
whitepaint
- she is ’sustained’ by two sticks, a trick gardeners often use in order to make trees grow in a vertical position, preventing them from having bent trunks
iamstick
- she is being offered fertilizer, natural I would say, if you take a close look, it seems like goat droppings
goatwastefeet

The duality darkness vs. light is also part of plants growing in hothouses, they first need a darker environment (seed and youth stages), after which they need light to develop. MO seems to be collecting the light she’s being offered in that broken candle above her.
candle1

Outside appears to be autumn, the withered leaves gathered on the glass room being the sign of it. According to wikipedia, the propagation of MO is done as follows: Seed – best sown in a cold frame in the autumn. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Guess next video MO is going out to play.

Re-occurring motifs and techniques:

The second video is also constructed in a circular way. Just like in the first one, we’re being introduced into another dimension by the same cat, only this time she’s making an owl sound. We’ve already established what the cat is all about.

incipittreecat

The difference with this video is that in the end, we’re being brought back to the tree, but this time, the image is completed with a couple of items we’ve already been introduced to: the six strawberries (btw, I really think those look more like mandragora berries than strawberries), the collar, the candle holder and the blond hair. Watch where the collar is placed in this tree.
endtreecandlefruitscollar

Speaking of trees, have you ever noticed how many Y’s are in a tree? Well… here are only a couple of examples. This is also another recurring motif.
treeeye2Ybranch
treeeye2YYbranch

The cat. Six of them as a matter of fact.
catonroof

Speaking of 6, here are the six faces that appear in the end. They look like faces to me. Masks. I’m thinking trees turned into beings, just like MO.
LEs:

- try this link for a better reference for the masks ;)

- or even better: I strongly believe the 7:26 Mandragora face in Y is connected to the 5:22 masks in O, the first being captured right before the pot is being ‘fed’ the semen, and the O masks after. It’s 6 mandras in this case, or 6 cycles of life.

face1
face2
face3
face4
face5
face6

The last two of them look strikingly similar. Either the creators got lazy or it’s just part of a deja-vu effect.

Other things I have notices, but couldn’t really make most of:

The way the light is entering the tree nursery. It seems to enter through spaces between wooden walls and trough some holes, which actually appear to be human made and human controlled. As in:

redlightcracksinwalls
redlights2

At first I thought it is the natural process of holes growing in wood, but we’re actually dealing with plugs pushed by fingers (theeeere’s a pinky!) and tied with chains. This tells me the plugs can be pulled back if an exterior will wants.

cep1
cep2fingerpushing
cep3chain

Other opinions to support video analysis:

ItsObviouslyTReznor

the first 6 vids were about the initial growth of the mandrake. the mandrake grows where the semen of a hanged man lands – that is illustrated by her lapping it up in the 2nd video. by the 6th video she’s finally uprooted by the black dogs (killed by her scream) and brought in to be prepared… “welcome home”

the next 6 videos might be focusing on the preparation of the mandrake plant which requires it to be buried for 30 days – which is approximately how long the interval between videos has become – and to be watered with cow’s milk (drip fed from the suspended glass) and then dug up in the middle of the night (both O and B have been made public at night… unlike the first 6 vids) and then wrapped in a “dead man’s sheet” (the “plastic” she was? covered in for b).

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