821. Rubber Johnny – Chris Cunningham


SUMMARY: A mutant wheelchair-bound boy is locked in a basement with his Chihuahua where he escapes into a rave fantasy.

WHY IT’S HERE: Chris Cunningham is one of the most inventive and acclaimed video artists in the UK. Having made much lauded music videos for Squarepusher and Bjork, Cunningham is perhaps best known for his work with Aphex Twin on the videos ‘Come to Daddy’ and ‘Windowlicker’, both of which were deemed too dark for daytime viewing. Cunningham’s six-minute experimental film ‘Rubber Johnny’ again uses the music of Aphex Twin and grew out of an idea for a 30 second advert for the album ‘drukqs’. Sharing the same dark, disturbing but blackly comic atmosphere as those earlier promos, ‘Rubber Johnny’ combines animation with rapid editing to create an astonishingly visceral short. Shot in infrared vision in a darkened basement, the film shows Johnny dancing frantically to ‘afx237 v7 (w19rhbasement remix)’, an Aphex Twin remix by Cunningham himself. Although Johnny’s life as depicted here is one of enforced isolation and abuse by his uncaring father, there is a strange joy in the escape he finds in music. Are his mesmerising dance moves a reality or just the fantasy of a physically limited being. Only Johnny and his Chihuahua know for sure!


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