Monkey Drummer is a 2.5 minute piece commissioned again by the Anthony
d'Offay Gallery. It was meant to be a companion piece to flex, but
wasn't finished in time for the September 2000 exhibition.|
Completed in 2001, the short is a humorous, kinetic study of a mechanical being with nine appendages -- six arms, two legs, and one, ahem, drumstick -- all seemingly controlled by the head of a monkey, though it's unclear what's in control here. Each flesh-and-blood body part, jutting from a black steel appendage, plays an instrument in Aphex Twin's hyperactive, dense Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount, the 10th track on his 2001 album druqks.
The overall effect is somewhat off-putting. Each body part acts authentically human, while being controlled so mechanically. Indeed each limb belongs to drummer Sigtryggur "Siggi" Baldursson, founding member of the Sugarcubes, who was shot multiple times in these various positions, and whose torso was chopped off in post.
From RES, "The idea came from those little mechanical windup monkeys from the last century, the ones with the red faces. ... Thought it would be really amazing to see a 21st Century one that was drumming to something ridiculously insane like a really fast Aphex Twin track." (Vol. 5, no. 5)
Monkey Drummer made its debut at the Venice Bienalle's 49th International Exhibition of Art, which ran from 10 June to 4 November 2001. Chris' installation was a loop of Monkey Drummer, flex, and All is Full of Love. The Drummer also ran in several exhibitions, which we cover in the folio.
For a view, check iFilm. You can also see the monkey on a DVD distributed in November 2001 by Creative Review magazine, and on The Work of Director Chris Cunningham.
2002 International Monitor Awards: Best 3D Animation in A Music Video