As you may have seen, the final record of the One Wild Life trilogy is releasing on Sept. 30! One of the things we are doing leading up to Sept. 30 is releasing a series of videos—one song from each of the records. These three videos share a story arc and build upon one another, but we don’t want to tell you too much about it because we don’t want to over-explaining or trying to interpret these videos for you. Art is, of course, made to be subjective, and I’m certainly don’t want to ruin your own experience at all with my own subjective conclusions. However, I think this is an interesting and beautiful video and I’ll share a little bit about it with you. This second video is filmed to “Love is All” from One Wild Life: Spirit. The first thing to take notice of is how beautiful this video is. Try to watch it in the full 4k resolution if you can. The video uses thousands of individual and beautiful full resolution images to create its unique stop motion effect. Team Woodnote did an incredible job making this video stunning to watch. And speaking of stunning, perhaps we there is another aspect of this video that might be interesting to talk about (especially since our manager thinks that with this video we are about to dive into the fire of online fury again). The interesting aspect of this second video is this-- a brief and artful view of a man’s naked buttocks.
I can feel your excitement already. “ARE WE FINALLY GOING TO GET TO SEE MICHAEL GUNGOR’S BARE BUTTOCKS?!!”
I’m sorry to tell you, but no. The aforementioned buttocks are not mine. Although—and this is God’s honest truth— I did volunteer to play the character whose cheeks are unveiled and everyone on the video team (including my wife) politely declined my offer. I was hurt, but I remained steadfast.
So why are we showing a butt? Simple - It’s part of the story and the art of the video. Perhaps a better question than that, however, is why wouldn’t we show a butt? Now we are talking about something interesting!
Humankind has always had an interesting relationship with our bodies. There’s so much shame, taboo, and stress about the human body—especially given the fact that we all have one. We are about to release the final record of our One Wild Life trilogy this year and it is all about the body, so we’ve been thinking a lot about this. One of the biggest things that we have come to realize is how unhealthy most of us are in relationship to our bodies. We hate ourselves and others for not being what we think bodies should be. But bodies are what they are. Do you judge every cloud in the sky that you see for not being a different sort of cloud than what it is? No, because you have no insecurity as it relates to clouds. If you were a cloud and insecure about yourself, then you would judge other clouds.
So back to the buttocks. (One of my favorite sentences that I’ve ever written in a blog post.)
Bottom line (pun intended): we aren’t afraid of showing a man’s backside in a video because we are trying to make art that says something—not bland propaganda that caters to a crowd who likes to pretend that people don’t have butts. This video is for the song "Love Is All" from our previous album One Wild Life: Spirit, and one of the themes in both the song and video is about casting off the constructs and untruths that keep us from our true selves. We so often mask ourselves in a million ways—through our work, our consumerism, our shame. Love, on the other hand unmasks us. It brings us to our most bare and vulnerable selves. It’s what sets us free.
When we have unhealthy relationships with our bodies, we are at war at the core of who we are. That unhealthiness can manifest in any number of ways. Some people feel shame and repress aspects of their humanity, others act out in a sort of strange reverse sort of shame where they hyper-sexualize or exploit their physicality in a way that may harm themselves or others but are willing to do so for some incentive—economic, as a means to power or attention…etc This video is not that. We are not trying to cater to man’s baser instincts to try to sell something or exploiting someone’s physicality for the sake of some ulterior motive. We are simply not repressing what we considered to be a really good story and concept for a series of artful videos.
Yes, we knew that including brief male nudity could potentially limit the reach of this video trilogy within certain circles. But we felt that trying to censor the filmmaker’s vision to this story would have been a decision based in fear. Fear rooted in a system of sexual repression and body shaming that results in a massive amount of darkness and suffering in the world. We are not interested in that. What we are interested in is making art that shines light into the world- not shadows. We hope that this video and this song helps you to feel more connected to love—more at home in your heart as your truest self. Of course, if you don’t want your kids seeing men’s buns, don’t let them watch this week’s video (I had no problem letting our daughter watch it btw.) But otherwise, enjoy the view, and maybe next time I can convince our team to let my own light shine.