“A Language Disappears” 

Animation and Direction: Shawn Chiki (2023)

For “A Language Disappears,” the first single from their forthcoming new album, Bekka Ma’iingan, Zoon’s Daniel Monkman has partnered with video director Shawn Chiki to take Zoon’s hazy guitarscapes in a new visual direction. Chiki, a multimedia sculptor and architecture professor at the University at Buffalo who is based in Tkaronto, conjures up a bright and vivid 3D virtual reality world for Monkman’s winsome avatar to explore. Chiki’s animation style is crude but not childish. Representing Monkman’s personal experiences with body dysmorphia, the elongated and disproportionate elements in Chiki’s animated universe highlight that every one of us and every element in our world experiences its existence from a unique perspective and reality. The visuals also connect with Monkman’s lyrical exploration of reclaiming their Indigenous heritage and identity. They say that “A Language Disappears” taps into “the fear of your language being forgotten,” something they began experiencing in earnest in their late 20s, “when I became a Born Again Indian.” 

In the video for “A Language Disappears,” Monkman crosses paths with Turtle Island’s flora and fauna on their journey across Chiki’s intentionally rudimentary CGI topography. The landscape is lush, layered, and at times envelopes Monkman whole before releasing him back into the atmosphere to continue floating across Turtle Island, onward in their expedition and self-discovery. The style is in stark contrast to the trippy psychedelics and grainy imagery Monkman gravitated to in videos from his 2020 debut, Bleached Wavves. This new visual language is reflective of the textured arrangements and intricate instrumentation of “A Language Disappears,” an indication that the forthcoming second Zoon album will exponentially expand upon Monkman’s signature moccasingaze sound.

Harley Alexander 
Universal Love 2