Duran Duran Make a Surreal AI Video For New Single ‘Invisible’
“This film was created by an artificial intelligence called Huxley, a unique dreamer whose ‘mind’ has been modeled after the cognitive and emotional processes of humans. It is the very first collaboration of its kind between artists in different planes of existence.”
The AI was obviously named for Aldous Huxley, whose books Brave New World and The Doors of Perception decisively reshaped our view of our own existence and of consciousness itself. And the video surely hopes to do the same, employing a technique known as “active inference,” established by venerable British neuroscientist Karl Friston in 2013. What it allowed was for the AI Huxley to draw upon the lyrical content and emotional tenor of the song, to conjure dreamscapes that mimic those of actual human dreams.
The result, hardly surprisingly, is a three-minute-twenty-six-second hypnotic wonderland, whose imagery recalls the work of such perception-altering artists as Yves Tanguy and Odilon Redon. It also brings to mind a quote from that exalted poet and impresario of Surrealism André Breton, who reckoned that human beings place too much emphasis on the waking experience, rather than the sleeping. “The mind of the dreaming man is fully satisfied with whatever happens to it,” he observed. “The agonizing question of possibility does not arise.” Surrealism, of course, was based on dreams.
Similarly, the ‘Invisible’ video – produced by DD’s longtime manager Wendy Laister – does not seem to be asking us to question what we see, but rather to allow ourselves to be immersed within its fantastical dimensions. It also has the benefit of soundtracking one of the band’s most essential later period singles, a return to form that draws aesthetically on the angular post-punk-electro-funk of their early days.
“Sonic architecture has always been incredibly important to Duran Duran,” explains Nick Rhodes. “I think with ‘Invisible’ we really have managed to carve the sculpture the way we wanted it. Sonically, it’s a very unusual piece of music, a sound that perhaps you haven’t heard before.”
It’s taken from their upcoming and fittingly titled new album Future Past (due October 22 via Tape Modern/BMG) – their first since 2015’s Paper Gods. It notably features guest appearances by Lykke Li, Blur’s Graham Coxon, and legendary Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson, with production assists by Erol Alkan, Mark Ronson, and electro-disco icon Giorgio Moroder.
“I’m not saying it’s epic,” Simon Le Bon enthuses of the album, “but well…yes I am. It feels exactly right for right now.”