The king, knight & queen are finally dead (well… the king might yet not be) and we’ve apparently come to the end of one of the most successfully-viral music enigmas of the last few years which was initiated back in January!
By now we all know iamamiwhoami is the personal twisted dark fairy tale Jonna Lee & co have been imagining for us with hundreds of hidden messages, animal sounds and visual cryptograms. Something many believed to be a Gaga-Aguilera or even a Madonna splendid new pop transformation. Fortunately not.
The 29 year-old Swedish artist Jonna Lee (with a couple of albums that completely differ from the synth-pop style by Iam.. and which haven’t managed to make much noise in the international panorama) may well have become this year’s electro-pop sensation with a series of 13 dramatic & visually engaging puzzles.
An experiment in between art & viral that has managed to attract more than 100.000 viewers per video (only on youtube), proof that the glacial & celestial Swedish sounds are kicking harder than ever in the international panorama….
Provocative videos which play subtly with our perception mixing encrypted messages, myths, mathematical puzzles & theories…. all for the sake of a viral effect. Has it worked?
guess who am i?
It all begun with a series of video teasers titled with a series of numbers which when indexed into the alphabet, they spell out words such as “educational,” “I am,” “its me,” “mandragora,” “officinarum,” and “welcome home”. Then the “bounty” dilemma begun… 7 music videos introducing us into a labyrinth of animal sounds, youtube references and human introspection. Each video titled with a consonant or vowel which constitute the bou(u)nty word. To make it more viral the Swedish team (pretty much everyone agrees that it’s Jonna Lee’s band) did not only use Youtube as a way to propagate their angelical viruses.
They had to make influential music gurus write about them & take the “iam” bait, for such purpose they first sent links to their viral teasers from their iamamiwhoami gmail account, then last March they sent a series of packages to several blogers & websites (MTV, Popjustice…). James Montgomery was amongst the lucky journalists (from the MTV) who received a brown envelope containing some human hair, a few splinters of balsa wood, and a single strip of paper with the famous animal drawings….
Theories, theories and more theories
Christina Aguilera, then Amy Lee, Animal Collective, MGMT, Aphex Twin…. basically every artist with a minimum physical resemblance to that of Jonna Lee or with a minimum electronic component of its music was automatically suspected to be involved in the project.
And then regardless of the artists behind the series of authentic electro-pop visual bizarreness the question behind the symbolisms remains mostly unanswered.
Firstly we find what some call the hexagram theory or the 6 obsession: number 6 is encountered quite often in iam videos maybe symbolizing creation, six animals, six cats, six dishes, six strawberries, six masks… maybe symbolizing 666…. who knows. Then it was found that the iambounty.com url was registered by Jonna Lee herself in June 2009…. what she’s about to do with that web address we don’t know neither.
And then we have all the birth, dualism & bounty theories which seem to be the most plausible way of explaining the universe Jonna Lee & friends have created for us (broke down to detail by forsakenorder)… wrapped up in a shiny shiny tin foil. A universe where kings and knights represent the two sides of human nature; where the imperial crown, orb & scepter are nothing but fake royal icons and where not only light, mirrors and animals are omnipresent but also things like sex, birth, fear, materialism or religion …. a new humanist theory courtesy of iamamiwhoami. Enjoy the ride.
Oh! I nearly missed the whole purpose of this musically viral series…. to buy Jonna Lee’s music which of course (they’re not doing this of the sake of art & human being… even if sometimes looks like it) is available via iTunes or the Amazon Mp3 Store.
Follo-up article …. “being Jonna Lee“