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Steven Wilson releases disturbing deepfake video for Self

Steven Wilson
(Image credit: Steven Wilson)

Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Robert Downey Jr,  Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Zuckerberg, Brad Pitt and David Bowie (to name a few) all make an appearance in the startling new video from Steven Wilson for Self.

Directed by longtime visual collaborator Miles Skarin, the video uses similar deep fake technology (DeepFaceLab) to that used in Channel 4’s Alternative Queen’s Speech.

"Self is about our new age of narcissism and self-obsession, one in which a human race that used to look out with curiosity at the world and the stars now spends much of its time gazing at a little screen to see themselves reflected back in the mirror of social media," says Wilson. "In that sense everyone now can take part in the notion of celebrity, and has the potential to share their life with an invisible mass of people they will never meet. The video take things further by exploring the idea that anyone can now project a version or “self” that has no bearing on reality, and by using only well known faces the deception is made transparent."

"In our early discussions about the Self video, we were talking about the concept of identity in the digital age, how your face is not only your key to a lot of the media you consume, it represents who you are - or who you pretend to be in your online personas," adds director Skarin. "One of the most intriguing new developments in recent years have been the ability to create deepfakes, where a computer runs a machine learning algorithm to predict what one face would look like in another’s pose. Anyone with the right tools and ability can now turn themselves into anyone else, so what does that mean for identity?"

Self is taken from Wilson's latest album, his sixth, The Future Bites, which is out now.

Jerry Ewing
Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock, as well as sleevenotes for many major record labels. He lives in North London and happily indulges a passion for AC/DC, Chelsea Football Club and Sydney Roosters.