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Abebe Bikila - Icarus

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Insight
Greek mythology already warned about the danger of the light. Icarus, attracted by the sun, flew so high that he burned his wings and fell from the sky.


Two thousand years later, the myth repeats itself. If the pursuit of power and success can take us to heaven, the lights that burn at the top can also be our ruin. For the launch of rapper Abebe Bikila’s new album, AKQA Coala.LAB presents an updated version of Icarus, where the metropolis becomes the stage for modern tragedies and the maze from which we seek to escape.

Idea
The world’s first vernissage of a music album.
Oil painting – the classic means of immortalising stories in Ancient times – was also the technique used as the platform to immortalise this new version of Icarus.

A 2 x 2 metres oil painting reinterprets the artwork The Fall of Icarus (1636) by Jacob Peter Gowy. The album was embedded in the canvas, giving life to the painting through AR and allowing the rapper to virtually sing an unreleased track from his new album.

To capture the volumetric BK’, photogrammetry and motion capture techniques were used, in addition to LIDAR technology. An activation by geolocation ensured exclusivity for the public of the vernissage.

The music video.
Creating a contemporary perspective for the myth of Icarus, the film reflects on human desires and the danger of ambition. As the neo-Icarus, BK’ must deal with the temptations of the modern big cities, showing that the lights of the metropolis can elevate and, at the same time, can also corrupt human beings. The narrative mentions other characters from mythology such as Hélio (the sun personification) represented by gold and greed. Medusa and the parable of Narcissus symbolise the importance given to the reflection of the screens. Further, the Minotaur is personified by a motorcycle with horns.

Visual ID.
The work also featured supporting graphics material, brochures, posters, OOH and visualisers for each of the album’s tracks.

Impact
An engaged and empowered fandom.
The artwork was exhibited for three days at the Art Museum of Rio de Janeiro, receiving more than 6,000 visitors. The rapper garnered over 2 million views in 24 hours and the album achieved a record 8.9 million streams on Spotify and more than 3.7 million views on YouTube.

More than just an album launch, it took the rap audience and marginalised youth to a space usually denied to this public: the museum, making music, art and technology accessible to everyone and denouncing the most contemporary and real tragedies of our society. Lust, desire, addiction, greed, corruption and other sins inherent to humanity are the theme of this work, represented visually in the painting and in the poetic lyrics of the album.

CREDITS

Agency / Creative
AKQA US, 2 months ago