Flaunt Premiere | CHRISTEENE "TSSP"
CHRISTEENE wants us to have fun again. After her journey through the cinematic language of Rick Owen's monochromatic "Butt Muscle," she's back to attack us with a kaleidoscopic journey in "TSSP". The experimental video, directed by PJ Raval, takes you to CHRISTEENE’s colorful and queer dreamland. Alien queens wearing abstract cubes and turkey leg necklaces, dancing while candy corn explodes behind them. The purpose that PJ and CHRISTEENE had with their art piece has to do with where we are in the world. PJ admits, “With the current state of the world we thought it’d be an opportunity to counter the ongoing darkness by giving CHRISTEENE the opportunity to exist in an alternate world- and we were thrilled to collaborate with our good friends Toronto performance troop HotNuts and digital artist Stephen Fishman. So TSSP is that escapist pleasure of what the world can be when people come together and create rather than tear down, isolate and alienate one another like our current administration. Welcome to our queer utopia.” To celebrate the new video we took a moment with CHRISTEENE and PJ to chat about the video, collaboration, and the magic of green screen .
This is probably your most family friendly song and video.
I would love to meet your family.
So how did you get involved with working together?
CHRISTEENE: We’ve worked since the beginning, he's the one who made the 'Fix My Dick' video. I was living in Austin and people kept saying hey CHRISTEENE you should this PJ person and I believe they were saying the same thing about me and then we met and we didn't know what to do so we drank and then we talked and then he said uh what you got? And I said I got this song and then we decided to make this video. That’s how it started and then we just kept doing it.
PJ: Christeene and I have been making videos since the start. Christeene is obviously the brainchild of Paul Soileau and very early on we started collaborating because I think Paul as a performance artist was getting more interested in working in film and video and I as a filmmaker, have art background also and was interested in kind of returning to playing around with a little bit more performance and art driven filmmaking, and we just became friends. We just thought it would be really fun to collaborate together. I actually directed all the CHRISTEENE videos except for the one video he did with the Rick Owens. So we’ve been working together for years, I think since like 2008?
Where did all the colors come from?
CHRISTEENE: We’ve been breaking into much more colors since we started. PJ did not do the butt muscle video and that was a collaboration with Matt Lambert and Rick Owens. So I’ve been letting myself fall into other peoples worlds and that was a little bit of Rick world because all that fucker does is black and white you know, everything is nice chrome looking. PJ and I we felt the HotNuts people in Toronto were good and we wanted to fall into them and I needed much more color in my life because it's so dark right now. I like the burst of the colors to kind of unleash on my dark ass and we felt that the HotNuts people could very much mine those colors out of my hole and they did, it's just dying for some color.
So what is the song about?
CHRISTEENE: There was a time when PJ and I were talking on the machine together and it was a sappy conversation. Sometimes we argue out of nerves we’ve known each other for so long, we’ve been working for over 9 years now and I was sassin sassin sassin with him on the phone and he sent me a video of these four women and they were doing these very strange poses and things and I laughed and laughed and it made my shit laugh and so I was fed up with PJs shit and I wrote this song. It started like that, a fun fight with me and PJ on the machine and his rebuttal with the ladies so I took the poses and the turns from all of them. But then I kinda felt like… I never make bully's songs, not bully songs but like braggin songs about myself and so I kinda wanted to give a song that was a little more confrontational but in a fun way but rag you down if you're trying to get in a little riff. So it's a little about how it feels and looks when you get in a little trouble with me.
What role do the costumes play? You're so covered in this video.
CHRISTEENE: Yea, you like to see me uncovered? Your an interesting person. Your family is very friendly and you wanna see me uncovered. The HotNuts people are in Toronto and they make their own costumes like I do. I’ve worked with them many times and I wanted to let them show off their work in our video world. So I just walked in there and said I'll do whatever the fuck you want me to do and the next thing I knew they were putting me in girls baby clothes and I don't know what Shelly Duvall clothes. I just let them do what they wanted to do. And I like to change it up y'all have seen enough of my butt hole and my dick and I was like I'll let them have some fun and change it around. I like that.
PJ: With this video in particular we thought it would be really fun to kind of expand the creative family and collaborate with other friends and artists. So we worked with a performance group out of Toronto named HotNuts. They're a really fun, warm, creative, super crazy queer performance troupe that also has been really supportive of our work and has brought Christeene to Toronto several times for performances and events. So we thought it would be really fun to work with them specifically with this video and this song because we were really interested in kind of creating our own world, maybe a world of HotNuts. Because right now we are living in such dark times, I think one thing to remind ourselves is there can be an alternate world that we can reach for and perhaps even a utopian kind of world. We thought what if we were able to create a video inspired by the song that would really capture this desire to be in a queer utopian world? So HotNuts definitely came to mind because they're creative and positive and fun! We also thought it would great to try something different. Every time we make a video we are very interested in challenging ourselves to create a different kind of video than we’ve done before so with this particular video we thought it would be really fun to incorporate the animation and graphics and approached Stephen Fishman.
I think this is more of an art piece than a traditional video
PJ: I think it is and yes it's inspired by Christeene's music, but we love to also think of them as little short films. Right and how can we challenge viewers. How can we make viewers expand their view of what they think filmmaking and videos could be? So were really excited to be releasing these videos.
Is there anything else you wanna talk about for the video?
CHRISTEENE: Well, for me it's like a nice piece of shit on a green screen and I like picking up the nice pieces of shit on the green screen. There's an artist in Texas by the name of Steven Fishman. He's a graphic designer and we handed it over to him too to make all the graphics in the video and so it's a good family affair showing off a lot of people in our family.
Written by BJ Panda Bear