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Work / Animation

Yuval Haker tackles sex, intimacy, love and anxiety in this humorous music video

Tel-Aviv-based illustrator and animator Yuval Haker has created an animated music video for Israeli musician Alon Eder’s track I Am Sex. The song was recorded entirely on an 80s style Casio organ and deals with sex, intimacy, love and anxiety. The American-British-Israeli animator created the video as part of his graduation project at the Bezel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and was given “complete artistic freedom” to interpret the artist’s song.

“I worked in parallel to the song, using it as a very general storyboard and as a platform for me to express the things I wanted to say. I treated it as a personal project, rather than work for a client,” explains Yuval. The track has a nostalgic, synthesiser sound and Alon uses the Casio organ as a tongue-in-cheek way to express himself. As an animator Yuval shares the same sentiment and uses humour to portray some fairly graphic scenes.

“The song depicts an honest type of sex, not a romanticised version. The lyrics don’t talk about Hollywood-esque, clean sex – they talk of sweaty, weird, anxious love-making in some ungodly mess of an apartment,” says Yuval. “I tried to portray obsession, the feeling of constantly seeking and finding sex everywhere you look.”

Yuval’s style feels raw and candid, supporting his approach to the subject matter well. The lo-fi animation combines hand-drawn elements with digital finishes and the transitions between his scenes are full of texture and energy. Yuval’s aesthetic stems from looking at the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and learning how to “draw in an ugly way” to liberate himself. “When you combine the ugly, childish line with ‘proper’ principles of animation – something interesting begins to happen,” says Yuval. “My main objective was to make the animation constantly dynamic. The camera constantly searches where to look next, never satisfied with what it’s seen.”

“The song is split into two very distinct parts, before and after the orgasm. I feel it really takes the listener on a journey, a mini-saga. The contrast between the two parts is almost shocking, and I tried to show this in my animation,” Yuval continues. “I created a different colour palette for each part, and the subject matter of the animation is somewhat different as well. The first part is fast and agitated, with quick, anxious transitions, whereas in the second part I tried to convey a feeling of bliss, as if those moments could last forever. Yet ultimately we are destined to continue this loop of furious wanting followed by utter calm.”

Because of the explicit, matter-of-fact tone to the track’s lyrics, Yuval found it a challenge to “express [his] ideas without being pornographic”. “For instance this is how the red dot on the IBM laptop came to signify the clitoris,” says the animator. “In this way the viewer is the one who makes the connection between an innocent object and sexual imagery. The viewer is the sex-fiend, never the creator.”

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Yuval Haker: I Am Sex (still)

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Yuval Haker: I Am Sex (still)

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Yuval Haker: I Am Sex (still)

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Yuval Haker: I Am Sex (still)