Bianca Scout conducts a stroboscopic seance.

On ‘Vanguard,’ multidisciplinary performer Bianca Scout channels the spirits of her “goth opera,” The Heart of the Anchoress, in a visual that shape-shifts between folk horror and documentary, directed by Elena Isolini. Blurring ballet dance into ecstatic rituals of supplication, Scout flashes through a choreography of possession, contorting the definition of the track’s title, ‘the forefront or action of a movement,’ into a primal physical language. “I’m weaponising my own body, seeing myself as a chamber, of secrets, layers, fortress, manipulated structures,” writes Scout in a text accompanying the film. “Like the religious map / wrap themselves in, to confinement. To break inside, upside down, other land, new territory, thinking about this land and hierarchy and the structures shifting in and outside of us.”

“The video concept revolves around a spirit who is learning how to haunt,” explains director Elena Isolini. “I’ve always been drawn to split universes, this idea that there are two co-existing versions of ourselves. The spirit is searching for a purpose and home, and this video depicts that transitional state. Acceptance and resistance is a big theme for me, and there is a comfort in the void and fear in the familiarity. The disorientation of images mixed with POV is used to immerse the viewer in an interpretation of that horror.”

“The movement work is about coalescing the parts of you, the disparate, and the close, and giving them all a platform to sing,” says movement director Malik Nashad Sharpe. “We use Scout’s prior training as a ballet dancer to construct a movement score that allows the multiples to harmonise – to do so with freedom, to do so as armour – as weaponry for new secrets, renewal.” Mapping the sacred space of the church, where the anchoress of the album’s title resides in solitude, onto her own body, Scout moves through the gauzy latticework of ‘Vanguard’s eerie organ drone, ASMR prayer and chopped and screwed chorus, flickering between holy ghost and folk horror apparition. “Even after you’re dead, the learning continues,” writes Scout. “Ghosts learn new skills. This ghost learning to ‘haunt’ is just evaporating what she remembers, what sticks.”

“The apparitions and visitations of saint / souls / sinners in the confinements of an anchorite’s cell would be demonised,” concludes Scout, “books were written about these experiences that had to be kept on the down low, or published under a different name. If you talked about god or the spirit in relation to yourself in a way that was different from the monarchy, then you would be executed.” The whispers of Scout’s intonation throughout ‘Vanguard’ echo this threat, strobing between the blasphemy and ecstasy of moving within a sacred space which is also your own body.

‘Vanguard’ is taken from The Heart of the Anchoress, which is out now on First Terrace Records. You can find Bianca Scout on Instagram.

Vanguard Credits:

Director & Editor – Elena Isolini
Director Of Photography – Mark Gee
1st AC – Kairo Jones
Gaffer – Declan Duffy
Steady-Cam – Simeon Geyer
Lighting – GLO Film Lighting
Movement Director – Malik Nashad Sharpe
Hair & Make Up Artist – Cheryl Basko-Humphreys
Stylist – Michela Isolini
Data Wrangler – Federico Barni
Grade – John Lowe

Watch next: CORIN – Lux Aeterna



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