We at Dossier are very pleased to premiere the music video Eyes Wide Wider (Baleriac Edit) by the band Tempers, here for you on Valentine’s Day. This video also signals the directorial debut for our friend Kalika Farmer, well-known for her work with the contemporary arts festival New/Age held once a year in the Berkshires. It seems that although this is Kalika’s first video as a director, many more are already on the horizon. I sat down with her to ask her about the process of directing the video and got answers that include the spiritual aspects of pole dancing, and found out that she lugged a stripper pole up a mountain all by herself. Enjoy the video and the interview. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Katherine Krause: This is your first directorial debut for a music video. What was that like? How was the experience different than directing other things?
Kalika Farmer: This is my debut as a director, though I have produced and shot numerous photography projects in the past. I quickly learned that the process of directing and production for film and video requires both creative vision and the capacity to execute it. I did learn the basics of production while working on a documentary about Matthew Barney and Bjork when I was in college (No Restraint), but Eyes Wide Wider is really my first project as a director, and I am really excited; it attempts to combine all of the different worlds I am passionate about and distill them into one image.
Katherine: Where did you shoot the video?
Kalika: The video was shot in the Berkshires, deep in the heart of the forest at a magical, sacred waterfall. The production took place over an entire weekend. I spent the previous week scouting locations in nature; waking up at dawn and driving frantically, racing the sun- trying to find the perfect location where we could capture both the light of the sunrise and sunset, and meanwhile texting images of the location to the band. The following week, we (the band, and the crew) met up in New York, and drove up to the country. I also invited Julia Willinger of XL Records to accompany us for the Berkshires adventure- she has continued to be a big fan and supporter of the band ever since.
Katherine: It seems as though Jasmine (one half of Tempers) is swinging on a pole for a long time. How long was she actually up there? Did she already have that skill or did she have to learn how to do that?
Kalika: Jasmine has been taking pole dancing classes for a few years. She has told me the experience is incredibly empowering- a very spiritual experience. From what I understand, the classes provide a platform from which you can access your power and examine and celebrate your sexual identity and energy. She also related that the classes are very diverse and that there will often be eighty-year old grannies in the class, and it’s beautiful to watch so many women from every age group and background coming together and celebrating themselves and each other while creating a space for an energy that I myself find very beautiful and freeing.
I’d actually never seen Jasmine dance when we came up with the concept of the video, I had only seen her perform- both at the last NEW/AGE Festival entitled A La Fortune du Pot and then at a show I curated on the Bowery, and I remember asking Jasmine about the way she moved on stage. I think that conversation lead to us discussing pole dancing and then, she played a clip from Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon (Mimi’s Dance) on my iPhone and I said “This is it! This is what we should do for your next music video!” I had already been helping the band expand their contacts in the industry at that time, and the video project just emerged organically from that point really.
Katherine: How did you come to put a stripper pole in the middle of nature and why?
Kalika: Tempers and I are both very spiritual and the energy in the video really reflects a spiritual connection to nature, and the freedom of spirit in nature is celebrated in this video. A major inspiration for me was the L’Estasi di Santa Teresa by Bernini, an iconic sculpture that relates the idea of life as beauty and yet also as suffering- spiritual suffering, the separation from the Beloved, longing, abandonment, and surrender.
Kalika sent these materials over to further explain the St. Theresa connection:
“[Teresa] recognizes that it is like bodily seduction, but only as an opening or avenue for another kind of experience. Human sexuality or even the senses cannot have the primacy for Teresa or Bernini which the do for us. The shocking reciprocal movement which grabs our attention so forcibly is not intended as sensational; it aims to jar us into another place entirely.” -Robert Harbison, Reflections on Baroque
Katherine: There is a lot of smoke or fog in the video- what was that meant to represent? How did you get all that smoke in there?
Kalika: The fog that you see in the video acted as a very effective tool for creating an etherial tableau with mystical overtones. It both obscures and reveals Jasmine’s figure, and invokes the idea of figure; sculpture as the abstract energy of ambiguous motion; spirit and body interfused of earthly forms converted to heavenly, spiritual flight, intimating that the healing force which descends is in some way transgressive, part of a disobedient desire to over-spill boundaries.
To create it, Eddie Cooper (the other half of Tempers) brought in about one-hundred pounds of dry ice and we actually threw it in to the waterfall and prayed no one would see us and then we removed it from the water as we were leaving… Also, we had a commercial fog machine, which helped. It was a huge collaborative production- we all had to lug very heavy equipment deep into the woods, and I personally carried that pole on my back up a mountain. Blood, sweat and tears.
Katherine: Are you directing anything else next that you want to talk about?
Kalika: I have another music video coming out later this month, a collaboration with Richard Kern for Wash ‘N’ Set (Nicole Taylor Franzen and Ashley Sebök), two amazing girl rappers. Their sound is Valley Rap, Trap in da Valley, R&B, Pop, Experimental. I had an amazing time working with Wash ‘N’ Set on their music video for Private Play. They have the best energy.
Tempers “Eyes Wide Wider” (Balearic Edit)
Written and produced by Tempers. All rights reserved.
Assistant Producer: Tempers
Director: Kalika Farmer
Creative Director: Kalika Farmer
Director of Photography: David Goldberg
Styling: Kalika Farmer and Jasmine Golestaneh
Assistant Stylist: Hannah Buonaguro
Editor: Thomas Arsenault
Special thanks: Julia Willinger, Pip Deely, Eva Munz