Hurricane Sandy hit New York hard. My apartment was left high and dry, so as soon as the storm cleared, I went to offer help at a friend’s house in the shoreline neighborhood of Red Hook. Their ground floor apartment had had an upright piano floating on nine feet of dirty water in the living room. A few nights later, I took a memorable bike ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, plunging into darkness as the power lines went out exactly half-way across, and pedaling through old Manhattan in a stunningly 19th-century setting, with candles in the windows as the only street lights. “Lookout” is about friendship and community in the face of tough times.
The music video is a blast of creativity from Brooklyn director Lauren Balthrop. Since the song features time as the primary foe in the war of life, we played with time by first taking an old timey tintype of me dressed in 19th-century costume and props. We then got the tintype turned into a puzzle, and scattered the puzzle pieces and the props around Red Hook, like tiny messages from a version of myself in the past. All the locations in this video were completely submerged in the flood of 2012.
Extra Credit Viewing:
Check out this awesome glimpse of the tintype used in the Lookout video developing. A TINTYPE, by the way, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of iron coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. It's a 19th-century photography technique that we used to create the image that later became a puzzle for the video.
This one was taken by Jolene Lupo at the Penumbra Foundation in New York, NY. You can see Jolene at the end of the video standing beside her camera with the Manhattan cabs streaming by behind her.