How many screens are around us? I’m “working from home” today – so instead of my garden office, I’m taking refuge from the cold weather and working from bed. But even so, I’ve got my laptop, my iPhone, my iPad, and the screens from my two iMacs. Downstairs my husband is working from home with his four computer screens, his two laptops, and his 3 phones – two personal and one for work. My three sons, also studying from home, are working in front of 8 screens between them. If you wanted to take a heat reading of our house it would likely be quite shocking. Sure we’re not the average modern media consumers, but I can’t believe that most people are much different, particularly in these days of quarantine. Our dependence on our devices has only been amplified, and although we’re taking our state sanctioned exercise (in my case, building a garden to die for), our screens have effectively become our window on the world.
Greg Hoy knows only too well how this all is, and in the video for his latest single, ‘Messed Up World’, he’s created a sort of meditation on digital meditation. The clip features screens within screens: dancers dancing, giving it all they’ve got as seen on fuzzy screens; painters painting; people listening to music; we see it all but via a screen – an eye on the world but viewed through a glass darkly. Eventually however one of the participants dares to look away from the screen and pull back the curtain, revealing the real world outside her window. But we’re still looking at the screen, we’re still watching, like voyeurs, at what’s going on. Hoy invites us to consider how our connection as humans to other humans has changed during this pandemic. If you’re living alone, how do you find your place in society when it’s all on the other side of a screen?
The song itself is a 2 and a half minute quickie of guitar-led power-pop, along the lines of Elvis Costello, both lyrically and sonically, yet in that time Hoy gets across the message he wants to share. There’s some nice references both in the song and video to those artists who’ve gone ahead of us, such as the nod to Bowie (the girl plays ‘Hunky Dory’ on her record player), and Hoy sings of Purple Rain – of course an allusion to Prince. Given both Bowie and Prince died in 2016, and politically the climate has changed dramatically since then, ‘Messed Up World’ could very well also be an allegory suggesting things have been messed up a whole lot longer than just this year of Covid-Quarantine.
Watch the video for ‘Messed Up World’ below and let us know what you think. You can find out more about Greg Hoy online on his official website.