The mind is a mysterious contraption in which lives a person far removed from the individual that one expresses overtly. In the dark halls and corridors of the mind roam ghost-like figures that appear to have some similarity to the individual seen in the real world; each of these ghosts appear to have been born from one another but though living in the same haunted mansion do not acknowledge the others’ presence. The many layered conundrum is home to twisted and tortured souls, long forgotten, trapped within the confines of the womb that does not wish to accept its presence nor release it into the wild.
The world outside is a reflection of the chaos within the mind. In its empty hallways, echo and resound wails of thoughts and desires that one represses; fear of the unholy, the insane, the unacceptable force one into keeping them locked away within far from the searching eyes of the individual and others who let their gaze fall briefly on him/her. “The Hidden” is a short film that gives body and movement to these thoughts that one keeps secreted away in the dark and eerie chambers of the mind. It seems almost to serve as a warning, for disarray is sure to burst forth eventually and display its ugliness to the world.
With a mélange of sinister whispers and smothered screams as background music, the video shows a number of women who strangely appear to be identical, though each with a certain feature distinctly different from the others. Like souls ripped apart several times, the women endlessly roam the empty corridors, alone even amongst their siblings, until the insanity seems to finally burst out from them. Almost unexpectedly, the pace of the video changes as the women express a psychotic need to drown themselves, plunging their heads into vats of water harshly. This suicidal tendency seems to be an expression of the desire for the unification with each other; much like the Eastern philosophies speak of unification of the soul with God upon death. Salvation, however, eludes them and this desire for liberation remains unsatisfied.
Dressed in pure white flowing gowns as fluid and formless as the thoughts that flutter through one’s mind, the suicidal intentions of these ghouls are accentuated by the whip-like sleeves of the gowns symbolising, perhaps, straight-jackets that the psychotic were at one time forced to wear. No shroud-like material, though, can tie away and trap the thoughts of a mind for they will continue to howl out pitilessly to their maker for release, until they escape. Even as the mind floods with thoughts, these unholy spirits that are broken pieces of the same self are seen pleading out for freedom, beating against the prison which holds them bound within till they die from the torture- the torture of waiting hopelessly for a dream to come true.
Barely three minutes in length, the film is an assault upon the senses. Images race in front of your eyes as the soft whispers lull you into a false sense of security for a couple seconds before being treated to a bizarre awakening by the jarring screams. The immortality of the trapped thoughts is portrayed in a never-ending cycle of transmigration which manages to give the impression that they have not died even upon their disappearance.
Created by Jonas Åkerlund, The Hidden is a glimpse of the madness that dwells in the confines of every righteous, religious, blessed mind that projects an image of ultimate control on the exterior. The Swedish director is no stranger to madness; though mostly known for his work as a music video director and having worked with famous names like Metallica, Madonna, Ozzy Osbourne, Jane’s Addiction, Pink, and Smashing Pumpkins, Åkerlund first started out as a drummer in a black metal band, Bathory, which is often touted as the band that signified the arrival of black metal in Sweden.
The Hidden by Jonas Åkerlund