Steven Wilson has made use of deepfake technology in the disturbing new video for his latest single ‘Self’.
The song appears on the London singer-songwriter’s sixth album ‘The Future Bites’, which was released last Friday (January 29) on Caroline International.
Following the track’s themes of “new age of narcissism and self-obsession”, the black-and-white ‘Self’ visuals see Wilson transform into various celebrities including Donald Trump, President Joe Biden, David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Mark Zuckerberg.
The clip, which was directed by Miles Skarin, premiered today (February 1) on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square. You can watch it below.
“‘Self’ is about our new age of narcissism and self-obsession, one in which a human race that used to look out with curiosity at the world and the stars now spends much of its time gazing at a little screen to see themselves reflected back in the mirror of social media,” explained Wilson. “In that sense, everyone now can take part in the notion of celebrity, and has the potential to share their life with an invisible mass of people they will never meet.”
He continued: “The video takes things further by exploring the idea that anyone can now project a version or ‘self’ that has no bearing on reality, and by using only well-known faces the deception is made transparent.”
Skarin added: “In our early discussions about the ‘Self’ video, we were talking about the concept of identity in the digital age, how your face is not only your key to a lot of the media you consume, it represents who you are – or who you pretend to be in your online personas.
“One of the most intriguing new developments in recent years have been the ability to create deepfakes, where a computer runs a machine-learning algorithm to predict what one face would look like in another’s pose. Anyone with the right tools and ability can now turn themselves into anyone else, so what does that mean for identity?”
Elsewhere in the video we see Wilson warping into the faces of Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson.
Last October saw Donald Trump get the deepfake treatment from South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who launched a weekly satire series called Sassy Justice.