Tessa Chong & Lee Arkapaw A music video inbetween waking and dreaming

Cover Image - Tessa Chong & Lee Arkapaw

“Hypnagogia is the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep… You start falling, then you’re slowly running, you start dreaming of lunch, dancing, and shape-shifting into a guy with a million eyes,” reads the description below Super Magic Hats’ new music video Sleepless and it pretty much describes what you’re in for.

This kooky animation by Australian artists Tessa Chong and Lee Arkapaw is not unlike a dream sequence – nothing is impossible. We see a chicken running around, ramen jumping from bowl to bowl, a chap doing the wave in three-fold and many more unrelated scenes very craft-fully stitched together.

“My creative partner and I just thought of things we wanted to animate. Since the whole idea was based around dreams it really could be anything, and it didn’t have to make sense!” Tessa says.

And this is exactly the appeal of the video; each shift in the beat results in a joyous surprise – you never know what the animators have up their sleeves, and every time you think you’ve seen it all, they come up with another nutty animation.

“We independently animated little scenes, then I decided what order they should go in. Sometimes I would try and make them have some kind of connection (like an egg turning into a chicken), other times it was purely random.”

And although the subject of the scenes were chosen arbitrarily, their rhythm closely follows the music. “The song has very distinct phrases, so we worked out how many of these were in the track, marked them up, and made our little scenes match this timing,” Tessa explains.

“When there is a break in the music there is a shift in the animation. So essentially we let the music determine the flow and number of scenes.”

The video starts in black and white – but halfway through there’s an explosion of pink, green and orange. The same scenes from the first half of the video return, but now they’re ripped apart, broken up and brightened with splashes of colors.

“The song builds up, and the middle part of the track has quite an energetic, driving beat, so it made sense to bring in color,” Tessa explains.

“It has a joyous feel, so we wanted the animation to reflect that. Starting out in black and white and then bringing in bursts of color really helped add variety and even more layers of movement.”