Work / Music

Unnerving video accompanies David Bowie’s beautiful new elegy to Berlin

Today is an historic day, for today birthday boy David Bowie released his first record in 10 years. The track Where Are We Now? is a haunting elegy to his Berlin days, a melancholy ballad that builds up to something quietly, beautifully epic.

The video, directed by multimedia and installation artist Tony Oursler, also haunts Berlin, the city where Bowie created Low, Heroes and Lodgers in the 1970s. Unnervingly, Oursler has taken one of the most beautiful, flamboyant figures in pop history and reduced him to a rubbery, weathered puppet’s head. On a screen behind, history plays like grainy footage from a hand-held camera of nostalgia. Scattered around are stacked old tomes, a white bust, huge chains, crystals, broken frames, what looks like a big paper snowflake and a giant model of an ear. This grey, unsettling and determinedly unglamorous video might not be for everyone but it seems strangely fitting for this rock and roll hero who’s kept himself in the shadows for too long.

Bowie-dead

Tony Oursler: David Bowie – Where Are We Now? (still)

Bowie-street

Tony Oursler: David Bowie – Where Are We Now? (still)

Bowie-face

Tony Oursler: David Bowie – Where Are We Now? (still)

Bowie-platz

Tony Oursler: David Bowie – Where Are We Now? (still)

Bowie-studio

Tony Oursler: David Bowie – Where Are We Now? (still)