The whole video is slightly abstract and meant to be read as a metaphor– The stairwell itself is a metaphor for your own mind. The action of going up the stairs is you striving to do better. The rope is a metaphor for limiting yourself. The action of going down the stairs is you accepting that its okay to “fail” or temporarily give up.
A DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE VIDEOS AND WHAT THEY MEAN:
The video begins in darkness– You are blindfolded literally, but figuratively it means that you are blinded.
The whispers in the background is your own voice– you are blinded by yourself. You whisper nasty thoughts/words into your own head.
You are forced to accept the help if not, you restart the game– When you are blinded by yourself, you need to learn to seek/accept the help of/from friends.
You are bounded by a rope, but you can choose to try and take another step or not– The rope is actually imaginary limitations/restrictions we impose onto ourselves. Sometimes before we even begin, we believe we cant do it. This idea cements itself into our minds, hence we cant do it. Perhaps if we were to just try before saying we cant, then we might prove ourselves wrong and succeed.
You see your friends climbing up, and you want to follow them– You aspire to reach their levels/standards as well. To make/do work that is better or equivalent to theirs.
However, when you go up, you find yourself returning to the same level you were at– You realise that you can’t follow them and you make no progress. Sometimes in life, our effort is not enough for us to succeed; and no matter how hard we try, it will still be futile.
Another voice appears and tries to guide you– The voice (in red shoes) is yourself, an “enlightened” version that was finally able to get out of the stairwell. The voice tries to tell you that following your friends will go no where, because it knows.
The voice mentions that you’ve been here before– The times before when you’ve tried to do as well as your peers, but still failed to produce work as good quality as theirs. But you didnt give up and continued chasing after them. (until you burned out and accepted “defeat”)
You are forced to give up– It takes a while, but you have to accept the hard truths. Sometimes, no matter how hard we may try, our efforts are just not enough; and we just keep trying but failing and getting more frustrated at/depressed with ourselves. At this point in time, it is more beneficial to give up for now, and try again later.
When you walk down, admitting “defeat”, you can go out and breathe a breath of fresh air. You re-energize yourself and equip yourself( red shoes) to try again. You’re now prepared and ready (white shirt as symbol of enlightenment). When you try again, this time, you can climb up and up, reaching new floors and levels.
After we conceptualized our story, I came across a poem, and I felt like the poem resonated with the message behind our story. Hence, we decided to put the poem in. It was introduced subtley at the beginning- set as the phone lock screen. Then at the end of the whole story, we let the image play, in hopes of tying up the whole story, so that it can further drive the message behind the story, and viewers will understand easier.
In our video we cut the poem down to its most relevant parts, but this is the full thing:
Personal Diary, T H E J O U R N E Y 9th December 2031.
The last thing I remembered was falling
Then a loud resounding thud through my head Sickly red pooled around me.
Its warmth comforted me
as the darkness I wished for finally came.
The next time I opened my eyes, I found myself sprawled on red. But this time, it wasn’t warm- it was cool and damp. What the fuck happened, where the hell am I? I wondered to myself as I lay motionless, waiting for pulsations in my head to stop. The ringing in my ears wouldn’t go away.
I stared blankly towards the sky, willing for the chaos in my head to end. Stop stop stop stop STOP. And it did, as if I had pressed pause. With a clearer mind, my memories and emotions came flooding back to me. I suddenly understood the gravity of my actions, and they weighed heavily on my chest. Regret squeezed my lungs, and had me gasping for air. I was now desperately praying for the ringing in my ears to come back, to numb me of everything, but it never did…
As I slowly sat up, I realized that I was surrounded by rolling hills of crimson. A dark sea of mis-colored grass, as if mocking me. Even the sky was a a deep shade of red. Red was my favourite color, but now I’m sick of it. Everything was red.
Having sat at the same spot for three hours straight, battling with the demons in my head, I couldn’t take it anymore- The deafening silence, the realization of eternal loneliness, the self torment of the mind. Tears welled up in my eyes till they overflowed. Why did I do that? Why was I so damn stupid? Why did I naively assume that things would be better? This is hell. The tears kept raining down my cheeks as if a tap had broken. I had broken. The sounds of my wailing echoed through the valleys of the hills. A desperate broken soul. I always was. Someone help me please.
Amidst my vision blurred by tears, I thought I saw a dark shape appear before me. It had a distinct silhouette- a tall and slender form, with curled horns on its head. I thought I saw lips curl into a malicious grin. Hastily, I rubbed my eyes, but the figure disappeared. Was that just a figment of my imagination? Have I gone delirious? However, at the ground where the figure once stood, was a white card that read:
I hope you’ll find yourself at home here.
If you’re feeling hungry, walk around a bit and you”ll notice an abundance of food all over. My recommendation is that you take whats inside, at the core. I assure you, it is the most succulent. As for drinks, I’m sorry to say that there isn’t a wide spread. But beggars cant be choosers eh? Nonetheless, I’m sure you will find it refreshing. Hope you enjoy them!
A surge of relief coursed through me. The note sounded inviting and comforting. Maybe things were changing for the better.
Perhaps I should listen to the note and look around more. I trudged forward through the tall mahogany grass. Trees started appearing in the horizon. From afar, I could see long bulbous forms hanging on the branches, peeking out from among the dense canopy of the trees. What on earth, those fruits are huge!
However, as I walked nearer, the forms started to take on more clarity. No….. They cant be….. I stared in horror as bodies hung abundantly from the tree. The blue and purple bodies drained of air and blood were a striking contrast to the overwhelmingly red landscape. I stared agape at the convulsive scene of hanging bodies, swinging ever so slightly… left… right…. left…ri…
My stomach dropped, and I felt nauseous. I looked down at the fallen body, only to stare at my own face, with a snapped noose around it. I retched at the revolting scene. With much difficulty, I forced myself to look up at the hanging bodies again. They were all in different stages of rot, blood trickling down the fingers, onto the grass. I wondered if this was what gave the grass its mahogany color. Wait. What the fuck am I even thinking?
Disgust washed over me once again, and I began sprinting. Get away from those trees! I ran as fast as my legs would take me. I trembled and shook uncontrollably as I ran, an image of the scene I just saw imprinted in my mind.
Soon, I succumbed to exhaustion and my legs buckled. I was hungry, thirsty and tired. As my head hit the ground, my vision darkened. I swore, just before I knocked out, I saw two slender legs infront of me and looked up to a wicked grin…
I awoke the next day. The next few days, I walked for days on end, trying to find something, anything. But all there was were trees with my hanging body, and fallen ones that littered the ground. What sick twisted world was I trapped in? With each passing day, I got weaker and weaker. Why dont I just die already. But how can I when I already am?
I’m not sure how many days have passed. I couldn’t keep track anymore. I barely moved. I grew desensitized, it felt like I had no emotions left- I lay calmly against a tree of hanging bodies, staring out blankly. Hunger ate at my stomach and thirst brought a drought to my mouth. Once again, I found myself wishing for darkness, and then I didnt. What if this same thing repeats itself? What if it only gets worse in the end? No no no, no more. I’m already at the bottom of a black hole, I dont want to go even deeper than that. Not again.
“Wow, such resolve. Good for you. If you’re so weak, why not have something to eat and drink? Its all there for your taking you know…” A faint voice whispered through the trees
Perhaps it was my overly fatigued mind, or my sudden desperation to live, or that damn inveigling voice, but something in me clicked. I knew what I had to do. Detached of any emotions, my limbs moved themselves, and I found myself crawling to the nearest fallen body. I stared at its face- no, my face– as I plunged my hand right into my chest, and pulled out the core. Surprisingly, it felt warm and heavy in my hands. Blood dripping down my arms, I thought I could feel it beating again. But I didn’t care. I chewed and tore deeper into the juicy chunk, cranberry spraying everywhere. I drank all the red liquid it could give me. Slowly, the pain in my stomach faded and the dryness in my mouth was soothed. Relief flooded over me once again.
After consuming the heart, I moved on to the rest of my body. I ravenously tore into the flesh. At the corner of my eyes, the figure appeared again. But I was too busy devouring my meal. It causally flicked another card towards me. I stopped to pick the card up with my bloody hands. I turned to face the figure, mouth agape, prepared to talk but it disappeared.