Sometimes a few passive news stories and fad-joining celebrities isn’t enough to raise people’s awareness, but the use of ill judged black humour and controversy, while garnering lots of attention, can distract from the message, and present ammo to the anti-climate change movement, as the fall-out from Richard Curtis’ disastrous 10:10/No Pressure campaign showed.
However, musician Phil Bancroft has responded to the Richard Curtis campaign by presenting an alternative example of how humour and irony in a short film can be used to address the serious issues surrounding our attitudes to climate change. But instead of exploding children, Bancroft has enlightened our thoughts through a deeply funky ironic pre-apocalyptic dance video with a personal story and an explosive ending of a very different kind.
At last year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Phil launched a 2 year project called “Home, Small As The World” exploring the theme of “Home” through back-projection visuals, an interactive website and a 7-piece band- featuring top musicians from the UK Jazz and Folk scenes, including Aidan O’Rourke, fiddler in folk supergroup LAU.
Phil’s latest video features the band’s eco-funk future hit “Too Late Now, So Party On” and a message sent from the future back to the present, beginning with Phil and his wife preparing to leave the earth in a spaceship that looks like the ones you built as kids (extra kudos for recycling the cardboard boxes).
He tells the camera about the state of the world and the hip funky song kicks in with hilarious glimpses of so bad its good editing skills, as well as moments of Phil and his wife dancing like the drunk uncle at the wedding, with the story unfolding right to the end with some fantastic low-fi animation.
When you scratch beneath the comedy-coated surface, Phil cleverly conveys a powerful message in the lyrics stating “we let our children down, we let our children’s children down”, and makes everyone think for a moment what it might feel like if they had to attempt to relocate their family to another planet, never to return.
When asked why he decided to join the eco-fight through music Bancroft said “Music can entertain us, get our bodies moving, make us feel, change our headspace and our mood, At it’s best, music is a language able to convey what words and images alone cannot. While watching the furore unfold over the 10:10 film, I realised our film used humour an irony in a different way, and that it might be able to move and affect people around a similar topic, so I was intrigued to see if there might be a role for it in the debate.”
The aim of the Small As The World project is to create an evolving multimedia web archive, combining live performances, audience participation and audiences’ words and images, all helping us to understand what ‘Home’ mean to us now, including what our home planet means to us.
But Phil would be delighted if the Message From The Future film developed another life, in being used to promote awareness of the climate change debate.
Want to know more about Phil’s project and the ‘Message From The Future” video?
Head over here.
If you have not seen Richard Curtis’ 10:10 here is the link.
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