26th April 2013
On the Road
Title of film: Jon Hopkins, Open Eye Signal
Director: Aoife McArdle
Production Company: Colonel Blimp
Aoife McArdle takes us on a promo road trip unlike any other for Jon Hopkins Open Eye Signal. See more of her fab films in Related Content

Evoking strains of Kerouac filtered through a modern day vision of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, Aoife McArdle’s latest project through Colonel Blimp is an eloquent and elegant take on how to reimagine the visual landscape of electronica. Marrying breathtaking Californian vistas with surreal micro-portraits of fragmented communities and abandoned towns, the eight-and-a-half minute epic is both hypnotic and deeply effecting.

Hot on the heels of her equally impactful short for 55DSL, Italy, Texas, we just had to find out more…

What was your inspiration behind the promo? It’s such a mesmerising track and the visuals really amplify that through the almost meditatively repetitive motion the boy is performing on his skateboard as he travels travels travels.

I got lost in the track the first time I heard it so I wanted to create a video which had that same hypnotic effect. The track also felt like a journey that’s almost endless. I liked the idea of a city kid escaping his life and taking us on that journey via skateboard because that’s the world he knows. The elegance and freedom of skateboarding seemed to match the rhythm of the track effortlessly for me too. Overall I liked the idea that the story was about the journey rather than the destination…

The style of cinematography is really unexpected for a track like this – in a way it almost feels like an articulation of respect for the craft of electronic music making, pairing this sort of sound with an equally sparse yet incredibly considered visual world. There’s a question in there somewhere!

There’s a singularity and an almost existential atmosphere to the track that I really like. I think this is the kind of music that I really connect with on a personal level. I love epic, overpowering landscapes and lonely or maverick characters and this track seemed to be the perfect soundtrack for that kind of world.

The film was shot on the West coast right? It looks like you covered most of the Coastal Highway and then some! Was it major road trip vibes? Motels and diners…

Yeah completely – it was a real labour of love for me and the crew – we took in the whole of California really. I really wanted the journey to celebrate the drama and variety of the landscape there. It always blows my mind that you can move between desert and snow in two hours in that part of the world. The crew I work with are all such pros and have such a passion for film-making that the whole experience never feels like anything but fun for me.

Is there something in particular that’s drawing you to America through your work at the moment? Your short film for Diesel was filmed out there too wasn’t it?

I’ve always been in love with American literature and writers since I was a kid so I think I definitely romanticise that part of the world. There’s always that sense of being lost and searching for an identity in US literature that I really like and then the vastness of the sky and landscape just adds to that sensation for me.

Are you working on anything else at the moment that we should be keeping an eye out for?

I’m shooting a new film for River Island Menswear out in US again in an amazing dystopian environment. I’m pretty excited about that.


Jon Hopkins, Open Eye Signal

Album: Immunity
Label: Domino Records
Skateboarder: Chris Chann
Director: Aoife McArdle
Production company: Colonel Blimp
Executive producer & producer at Colonel Blimp: Tamsin Glasson


Italy, Texas: Wild Souls in the hot, blind earth

Writer/Director – Aoife McArdle
Exec Producer – Tamsin Glasson
Cinematographer – Steve Annis
Focus Puller – Robby Hart
Producer – Jason Baum
Vice Producer – Posy Dixon
Stylist – Alexis Johnson
Editor – Thomas Grove Carter @Family
Sound – Andy Humphries @750mph
Telecine – Aubrey Woodiwiss @The Mill

Starring Brenden Reza & Gillian Vanderslice

Seraphim Simian Mobile Disco

Director: Aoife McArdle
Producer: Amber Millington
Director of Photography: Paul Newton
Focus Puller: Julie Moniere / Nicolas Martin
Production Manager: Kat Cattaneo
Art Director: Charlie Lambros
Make-up: Julia Bowden
Editor: Sam Ostrove at Cut + Run
Grade: Mikey Rossiter at The Mill

Artist: Jon Hopkins
Track: Open Eye Signal
Album: Immunity
Label: Domino Records
Skateboarder: Chris Chann
Director: Aoife McArdle
Production company: Colonel Blimp
Executive producer & producer at Colonel Blimp: Tamsin Glasson


Lesson No. 7 Clock Opera

Director: Aoife McArdle
Producer: Amber Millington
Production Manager: Tom Allen
DoP: Paul Newton
Editor: Veronique Pinot at Hogarth
Focus Puller: Nicolas Martin & Julie Moniere
Art Director: Lucy Sanderson
Art Dept Assistant: Emma Noble
Hair & Make-up: Sophie Roberts
Sound Design: Florian Viale
Location Sound: Tim Hyde
AD: Caroline Tresise