Two months ago, BEA1991 dropped her most recent track, ‘My Own Heaven’. The single came fronted with a picture of a gigantic, pink-lit ship cruising in the dark. This week, Jona Honer released his documentary art film, My Own Heaven, soundtracked by Bea’s single. The video explores Bea’s time on the world’s largest cruise ship. It begins with Bea surrounded by a cheering crowd as she cannonballs into a pool. Concepts of childishness, awkwardness, death, and hyperreality are explored throughout the clip.
“Hyperreality” blurs the lines between reality and simulation (or illusion). The location where it exists can be visited and experienced; Jean Baudrillard and Umberto Eco both associated the condition with Disneyland. Eco believed that the false reality created was more desirable and that the created environment could “give us more reality than nature can.” Baudrillard believed adults used it to foster illusions of childishness.
David Foster Wallace explored a similar issue in his Harper’s article “Shipping Out”, which discussed his time on a Celebrity Cruises seven-night Caribbean cruise. He, however, found the escape to be tinged with dread and death, not only due to it taking part in shark-filled waters, but also because the vast majority of those on the ship were in their twilight years, and the ship and its crew were “skillfully en-abled in the construction of various fantasies of triumph over just this death and decay.”
The ship Bea finds herself on is lit in blue, pink, and purple neons. Trees are staggered throughout its ornate promenade and as her voice comes in, she is dressed in white. She takes a photograph against a fake sunset backdrop made-up to look like she is on the bow of a boat. That clip is juxtaposed with another that finds her actually standing against a more spectacular sunset on the actual bow of the boat.
Later, at the pool where the video began, Bea instructs a crowd to sing “My Own Heaven”. The clip ends with a scene showing a number of couples and families taking photos against backgrounds that have a photo of the boat on them.
Speaking about the film, Honer said he wanted to create a world “where Bea could be a hybrid character…Meaning that she is aware of the concept but still has to interact with a real environment.“
Honer’s video finds Bea experiencing both the real and the unreal and juxtaposing the images against one another. The ship is a fantasy to the viewer, but to those onboard they are simply escaping one reality for another. In one clip, Bea finds herself dancing next to a very dapper and very old man. Her vocals soar, “My own heaven.” The old man, despite his dressed up appearance, is extremely aware of the awkwardness of this moment.
‘My Own Heaven’, the video and the song, explore the awkward nature of existence. What is real is inescapable, even when we attempt to surround ourselves with illusion. The realizations of this throughout the clip are striking and only elevated by BEA1991’s tune.
At one point on the track, the Dutch musician says, “She needs an awkward mix of latent adventure and security.” This is what the cruise ship provides. Through awkward joys, stumbles, and needs, Bea is able to explore her own heaven.
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