"The video clip as we know it today is only about 20 years old," claims Clément Dozier, member of AB/CD/CD, the curatorial collective named for the initials of himself and his two accomplices, Arnaud Boutin and Camille Dauteuille. (The name might also be a wink at the '80s Swedish band AB/CD, an AC/DC parody, we suspect.) "There is a sense of a new cinema being born... neither a short film nor a feature-length," Dozier added when we met up with him at Chez Jeanette, a dive bistro in his local tenth arrondissement.
The three collaborators come from opposite corners of France but met as students at Parisian art school Les Gobelins. After working on various design-based projects ranging from Colette's visual identity to editorial work for WAD magazine, they decided, four years ago, to focus on video clips. They have since added Uffie, Lily Allen, and Kitsuné to their resume, but also oodles of awards—such as Best Music Video at the 2009 Imagina Wards—and prominent placement, including Saatchi's New Directors Showcase at Cannes Lions d'Or 2010. Earlier this year, they signed with Partizan, best known for producing Michel Gondry.
"Since the pioneering work of directors such as Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, one now thinks of a music video as its own creative entity, despite originating from a commercial aim," Dozier says. Indeed, many music videos have gained credibility through their multi-referential exploration of the relation between image and sound, video art and video clip, kitsch and cool. "The notion and importance of the narrative isn't the same, and one tends to find a hook or a simple idea, which would be tiresome or gadgety when stretched over a feature-length, and focus on the creation of an appropriate atmosphere," he says.
After creating a multi-media exhibition about hamburgers based on a short animated film about the inside of a meat patty—think a glass milkshake and giant burger sculptures to go along with the screening of the film—the trio is currently working on a short film, again about the fast food sandwich. "It is about a children's urban legend, that burgers are in fact thick slices of gigantic worms. The film is about someone's quest to find the woman who breeds these worms," says Dozier. "In both cases, it is about developing the poetry of the crappy."
He adds, "Stretching from one media to the next, from an independent show to a commissioned job, is fine, because throughout all these projects, one's identity inevitably seeps through—and I hope this is true for our work, too."