Video Issue: A video trip through the many selves of memory, and euphoria with a melancholy aftertaste
Thorstenson's take on S/Z turns this idea into a visual experience. It will be released online in pieces that can be navigated like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, and a path through separating branches might reveal the same scene reenacted with different actors, or the same scene with alternative edits. In this way, varied connections and present-versions of Skye are constructed, based on how the past is perceived. "You're meant to know it might've gone differently," Thorstenson says, "and you can't trust anything."
Even the way Thorstenson speaks parallels this fragmented pattern, as he seamlessly jumps from one memory to another or from one project to the next. "The music inspired that video and we worked closely together for four months," he explains about his work with Cooper. He also has done videos set to Xiu Xiu and Antony and the Johnsons' songs, to local music-maker Adam Finken's "Firebird," and is about to undertake a movie-themed project for San Francisco electronic duo johnathan. In all of the music videos, there's an interaction between the mood, beats, and lyrics of the music and the visual narrative. "With me, it's more about improvisation, and something magical happens. I have no idea how it happens, but I don't intend for people to react. I'm always surprised at how people react to something."
In undergrad film school at the Academy of Art, Thorstenson was taught how to look at film from a business perspective — it has to look clean, polished, and intentional. Grad school at CCA, along with a filmmaking crew he befriended, dubbed Nightmare City, allowed Thorstenson to think more about process, forcing his aesthetic to evolve. "I decided I'll show faux interpretations of my process because I was curious about what is actually real." These are readily featured in his work and create meta-moments, which make the viewer aware. "So I'm playing with this fake façade, and the truth hidden behind all these bright colors," he said. "It's the same thing with Myles' video. There's something behind all that happiness."