Stage meets screen in OK Go’s new “All Is Not Lost,” a collaboration with Pilobolus directed by Trish Sie—and light-years beyond the group’s Grammy-winning 2007 “Here It Goes Again.” Digital magic will trump treadmill action every time.
But “All Is Not Lost” is also a golden-oldie throwback. The June Taylor Dancers were producing kaleidoscopic effects back in the 50s on The Jackie Gleason Show, when overhead shots counted as high-tech. And likewise, capitalizing on the commercial appeal of attractive bodies in motion. The rock stars have a ways to go on that front…
Like most of what 40-year-old Pilobolus does, the work in “All Is Not Lost” is playful, weird, and vaguely countercultural. Making the audience feel good is paramount. The video is billed as a love letter to Japan on the occasion of its nuclear meltdowns, and the Google Chrome interactive version allows you to send messages (presumably of solidarity) to folks in Japan.
Pilobolus has had a creative services department since 1997 and has made commercials with all kinds of Fortune 500 companies. That’s a no-brainer in a world that sells the sizzle with sex all the time. But the troupe’s genius is to make the outsider-ness of dance, the almost gross and uncool animalistic side, an actual selling point. Bun-and-crotch shots of the performers crouching in their skin-tight, shiny, pale blue bodysuits make them look like frogs. And when the dancers’ feet are added to a facedown horizontal body,
Damian Kulash Adam Ross becomes a centipede.
Most dance troupes would kill for this kind of money and exposure. So I guess the lesson here is that if you build it weird and funny enough, they will come.