The Bug’s latest music video “Function/Void” draws the picture of a soon-to-be urban future where you wake up alone in your boring minimalist furnished apartment, voluntarily take drugs, flock to work with all the other ants, admire an unknown woman in the metro, waste your daytime with your desk job (probably something with media) and go back home. End of story. Sounds familiar to many, I guess.
The video fits the dramatic composition of the music perfectly and vice versa. The music might sound fairly dystopian to some listeners and underlines the mental tension of the protagonist. The world around him works fine, while thunderstorms of demolition rack his mind. As soon as he starts to refuse the drugs and to rampage, the music becomes soft and playful, somewhere between almost empty and peaceful. His inner and his outer states of mind have changed places. The elements of the video are visually and content-wise a collection of references to science fiction classics such as Brave New World, Metropolis or Philip K. Dick’s works. Nevertheless, it is impressively depicted. I’ve especially enjoyed the contrast between the brutalist concrete housings and the glass and metal towers that crash. If you are a fan of videos of controlled demolitions, this will be eye candy in slow motion. Hidden message: Concrete will last forever.
Especially the story twist is a classic in dystopian story-telling: If you stop taking the drugs, whatever they might be – a pill, an idea – reality will fall apart and you will unevitably disintegrate. This is the point where science fiction and present age diverge. Yet. Currently, people take drugs at nighttime to pause from daytime’s constraints. Drug consumption still means breaking with mainstream habits and will be prosecuted. Those who consume drugs at daytime are addicts and have fallen out of society. Dystopian future works the other way round. Everybody takes drugs at the beginning of daytime to stay balanced. Refusing drug consumption is equal to disrupting with mainstream – and most of the time totalitarian – rules. You will be prosecuted and/or won’t be able to stick to the reality you have accepted before. But present age and dystopian future are similar in other aspects: drugs serve to experience an illusion and this illusion is self-ingested. Both are based on escapism. So, are we practising the daytime of dystopian futures with present nightlife?