How does one distill the human experience? Is it about life’s grand gestures or the little details? Is it about shared experiences or moments enjoyed in solitude? Turns out that the pure essence of the human experience, according to NYC indie artists Superhuman Happiness, can be found on Craigslist.
The band, in collaboration with 72U–a creative residency program from agency 72andSunny–has released an interactive music video for its song that takes place entirely on Craigslist. As the song plays from a popup window, viewers can poke around the site and catch glimpses of people’s lives: the story of a break up is told through an ad selling a record player without any records (his ex took them); an adventurous but kinda lonely guy posts looking for a road trip buddy; and a listing for an old camera includes a photo log of the previous owner’s life.
The idea for “Catch a Break” came over breakfast. Maria Scileppi, director of 72U at 72andSunny was having an impromptu meeting with high school friend and Superhuman Happiness lead member Stuart Bogie. Bogie had a band and wanted to make a video for “Catch a Break”–a song that deals with the tension between ambition and survival. Scileppi had a creative program with seven multidisciplinary artists and makers and wanted to do something that’d never been done before.
“72U wanted to launch an experimental video that reflected the underlying themes of the single,” says Scileppi. “We chose to use Craigslist as the framework of the message board, because it symbolizes a crossroads of humanity.”
“This platform captures people in their most human state and is a reflection of the human spirit’s innate desire to reach out and be heard, to be a part of a community, and the collective struggle we have with needing to be anonymous but not alone,” adds Bogie.
While there’s a consistent video of vocalist Andrea Diaz playing throughout, the viewer ultimately controls what they see as they explore a faux Craigslist embedded with over 150 slices of life. The entire video was created for $1,000, and the piece itself has its own ad on the real Craiglist.
In a neat little twist that extends the narrative of the site’s significance in modern life, the agency actually turned to Craigslist to find participants for 72U, says Scileppi. “72U usually recruits via tech and art programs (RISD, SCI-ARC, SAIC, Hyper Island, ITP etc) and last session was the first time 72U decided to use Craigslist as a recruitment channel.”
The three-month, intensive 72U program was started by the agency as a ways to attract talent outside of the advertising industry and experiment with bringing in makers, says Scileppi. The program explores the intersection of art, technology, culture and storytelling, and is designed to open people up to new ways of thinking, collaborating and solving modern communication problems. If accepted, there is no tuition. “The curriculum is redesigned every session based on what’s happening in culture and the skill sets of the group,” adds Scileppi.
Experience the music video here.