Crush: R.E.M. “Hollow Man”

Watching the work of Toronto-based Crush is refreshing. They exercise a decidedly straightforward approach to motion graphics: no 3D (not even 2.5D), no crazy camera moves, no “one long shot” transitions. Just solid motion with an emphasis on concept and context-sensitive typography. That was true for their series of Gum Thief animations, and it’s true for their newest work, a music video for R.E.M.’s “Hollow Man.”

Crush seems to be channeling the aesthetics of the mid-90s in this one. Pixelated imagery, intentionally glitched-out transitions and window-based UI metaphors abound. (I suppose that’s appropriate for a band that I didn’t realize survived the last decade of the 20th century.) It all feels very earnest and sincere, like a heartbroken missive bashed out on an Amiga 500.


About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.


Erik K Veland

While they are definitely channeling the mid-nineties Video Toaster / Demo Scene aesthetics, there is plenty of 3D and 2.5 usage here.

Marc B.

There are some cool parts.


what were they thinking? i think the combination is jarring. musically speaking, definitely one of REMs weaker moments, the video doesn’t save the song.

the video would be more fitting for an indie electro punk band – teenagers, neon colours and gritty lo fi images. perfect. i think the people who worked on this are fans of that kind of aesthetic and culture, and listened to it on their headphones while working YET forgot (or pushed aside) in the process the – lest i say this about REM – “adult contemporary pop” tone they were to align themselves for to begin with.


Simon Robson

@ defasten
I couldn’t disagree with you more.
I think this is great. It’s fresh, un-inhibited, adventurous and synchs really well with the audio. And i love the juxta-position with REM’s song and sound. If we followed defasten’s rule of conservatively ‘aligning’ visual to audio, we’d never have had the seminal Peter Gabriel ‘Sledgehammer’ video, the utterly ground-breaking Dire Straits ‘Money for Nothing’ video, or pretty much anything done by Godley & Creme in the 80s to ‘make hip’ all those rock dinosaurs they directed videos for.

Simon Robson

In fact, defasten’s comment makes me believe more than ever that, despite all toys and the gizmos, we live in creatively conservative times


i agree with you on this one. i was actually glad to see this kind of combination, predominantly because i thought the music was pretty generic and just very incredibly, mundanely radio friendly (in a bad way. there is only one REM song i recall enjoying, so i’m already biased, lol), to the point that i can see bits of this music video used for a quirky cellphone ad or something.

i’m in a headspace where i’m watching and listening to a lot of non-commercial driven works and more conceptually-driven works, so this is where i’m coming from.

otherwise, i think the piece is cute.



I don’t mean to flame but uh… is avant garde a system font yet?

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