If you asked a Pole to list the five most interesting music videos he or she has seen in the 21st century, at least three of them will surely be directed by Krzysztof Skonieczny aka Głęboki Off. He recently hit the international headlines with his video pastiche starring Anja Rubik but there is so much more to discover.
Krzysztof Skonieczny is an artist who does it all. He studied the history of art, graduated with honours from an acting faculty, and has acted in films by Agnieszka Holland and Andrzej Wajda as well as theatrical plays by Michał Zadara, Marcin Liber, and others. He is the founder of artistic conglomerate głębokiOFF. Yet, what he is best known for are his marvellous music videos. Not only is each of them original and imaginative but Skonieczny also seems to have a commercial golden touch and his every creation immediately goes viral.
No Hustler Slicker than a Warsaw Hustler – Projekt Warszawiak
Skonieczny’s first hit was a music video for a Projekt Warszawiak's remake of a well-known song, Nie masz cwaniaka na Warszawiaka / No Hustler Slicker than a Warsaw Hustler (originally by Stanisław Grzesiuk, a Warsaw bard who is an icon of urban culture). The simple but humorous idea of presenting various types of Varsovians turned out to be the recipe for a huge blockbuster.
Monika Brodka goes indie
The success of his No Hustler Slicker than a Warsaw Hustler video brought a commission from Brodka – winner of the first edition of Pop Idol in Poland who, after a few years of being tied up with a major record label, decided to free herself from her commercial image and start a career as an independent artist. The video is a true stop motion masterpiece and a result of cooperation between several visual artists who worked on the film set and animated the objects surrounding Monika Brodka in real time. The participating artists included, among others: a fellow videomaker Dawid Krępski and photographer Kamil Krępski, Arobal, the Ewa Juszkiewicz - Katarzyna Łygońska duo a.k.a. AAA Tanie Wizualki, Arek Romański (co-founder of the Huncwot studio), or the Wrocław-based graffiti artist Skont.
Nomada – Katarzyna Nosowska ‘8’
Katarzyna Nosowska is a prominent figure on the independent music scene of Poland. She is a co-founder of the iconic group Hey as well as a successful solo artist. The song Nomada is a single from her latest solo album titled ‘8’. The video itself is a conglomeration of a plethora of things: ancient mythology, the famed French documentary Microcosmos, the prose of Bruno Schulz, and the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. The outcome is simply stunning. Once again, Skonieczny managed to create a world that you can’t take your eyes from.
Defto – Jamal
A crew of 4 made this video during a loosely organized, low budget trip to Bangkok. They used two cameras (Canon 5D and Canon 7D) only. The crew did not have any permissions, script or additional cast, or money for unforeseen expenditures or agreements with local authorities. They just kept capturing everything around them, making acquaintances, sleeping in trains and ferries, hanging around all night long…
They were held up several times: at the airport in Moscow, then their cameras and memory card were taken away by the bouncers of a transvestite club. Eventually, after being forced to empty their pockets at Bangkok airport, they returned to Poland to finish the video. The video got one million views in no time at all.
On the day after its premiere, members of Jamal were busted for drug possession. There were rumours that it was set up in order boost the media buzz. It was not. Afterwards, Defto got millions more views in just a few days. Skonieczny’s phone started to ring non-stop - marketing agencies, production houses, and record labels, all asking him to make another ‘Defto’ for them. The reply was always the same:
Hit the road and make one yourself. Defto is not a music video. It is an adventure. GłębokiOFF – pure fixation.
Yuma – Kazik
The word yuma derives from the border regions of western Poland in the early 1990s. It defines a certain type of a crime, i.e., stealing from German shops. It was also called a ‘secondary, Slavic, fair distribution of wealth,’ which meant Polish thieves from the western part of the country claimed the right to steal objects from their much wealthier, western neighbours in the name of social justice. This is what the film ‘Yuma’ is about. For the purposes of the music video for the song, Skonieczny transposed the mundane reality of poor Polish regions just after the political transformation into the world of Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City. Not only is it visually attractive but also complements the protagonists’ psychological portraits in a playful ‘larger than life’ way.
Chleb - Dorota Masłowska feat. Anja Rubik
The latest video by Krzysztof Skonieczny was made for a celebrated writer of the young generation – Dorota Masłowska. The author, feeling slightly tired of writing, decided to bring her social criticism to the world of music and recorded an album titled Społeczeństwo jest niemiłe / Society Is Mean. The lyrics of the song are a sort of a monologue typical of Masłowska - narrated in an urban language referring to a multitude of things which she finds characteristic of or pathetic in present day Poland. The appearance of world famous model Anja Rubik dressed up like a hooded lowlife's girlfriend gave it a ‘viral spark’.
Krzysztof Skonieczny is certainly a man of ideas. Each of the videos listed above was a big success and each of them comprises various inspirations, contexts and visual stylistics. Where does it all come from? How can one director so easily create videos which are so varied and still imposingly successful? Revealing his idols may help one form part of an answer:
My mind was always set for variety and to counter pigeonholing. I was inspired by creators such as Witkacy, Bruno Schulz and Stanisław Wyspiański. They did what they wanted, they were opposed to all strict rules and proprieties. They didn’t care about what is right and what is wrong. – said Krzysztof Skonieczny in an interview with Patrycja Wanat.
Krzysztof Skonieczny recently debuted with his first full–length film, Hardkor Disko – read Culture.pl's review here.
Author: Wojciech Oleksiak, April 24th 2014
Source: krzysztofskonieczny.pl, vimeo.pl, Prześwietleni/gazeta.pl.