Premiere: The Sisters Elefterin for Faintlife “The Skin”

Premiere: The Sisters Elefterin for Faintlife “The Skin”

The sister-artist duo tackles a new kind of work for their collective: an experimental music video.

The sister-artist duo tackles a new kind of work for their collective: an experimental music video.

Text: Julian Wright

The skin is the largest organ in our body. It envelops us, protects and nourishes our bodies, and holds our human form together. In examining the emotional and biological qualities of our skin, The Sisters Elefterin nod at its ability to sustain life in a video they directed for Chicago-based band, Faintlife. “The Skin”, a single from Faintlife’s new album, “Virgin”, is an acoustic alternative song that emphasizes the vitality that our outermost organ provides us and highlights its essentiality to our humanity. The Sisters Elefterin, in making the accompanying video for this song, captured the essence of its sonic counterpart and conceptually depicted skin’s raw and constructive nature.

The Sisters Elefterin are real-life sisters: Ari (28) and Zoe (23). The two women, based in New York, are tied together not only by familial bond, but by their art. The siblings began their collective in the pursuit of exploring the “the evolution and politics of the human body.” While they have only been an official collective for a few months now, their collaboration was innate. They have backgrounds in multiple creative fields, such as photography, dance and art theory, and were raised to support one another in their artistic endeavors. Now their endeavors are one, forming a new force of expression and performance, in what they describe as “your favorite sibling art collective.”

Ari and Zoe and the lead singer of Faintlife, Sam Shaffer, are hometown friends. When the band approached The Sisters Elefterin to produce their video, The Sisters felt inspired. “We found a lot of common ground in wanting the video to portray the concept of skin as something that is both natural and surreal.” The band initially reached out for some pre-existing footage, but the duo decided on “a whole new take on the subject matter.” They approached the music video as more of a video art piece, allowing for greater expression in depicting the skin and “a more robust and produced performance-based video” for their portfolio of work.

When you watch their video, you understand why they didn’t go with the traditional route. As the melody strums along, the accompanying film displays a relationship: a split screen toggles between the visual and the tactile world, showing us what we know and what we feel as relating to our skin. The Sisters were very creative in fulfilling their abstract vision; they created custom fabric pieces and garments and examined skin through a range of mediums, including silicone, foam, gelatin, salt, and ocean water.

When discussing their visual concept, The Sisters found unison with the song’s approach on their shared subject matter. Shaffer describes “The Skin” as a song that, "Speaks to the skin as an interface between within and without, absorbing and radiating beauty. The chorus, ‘Cover me up, make me pretty,’ personifies skin and supports the theme because I’m trying to point out how flawed humans treat the largest organ of our bodies." With a song and a video that capture the very beauty Shaffer aforementioned, The Sisters Elefterin and Faintlife offer us an expedition into ourselves, looking at our outer shell’s contributions to our humanity.

Watch the video for “The Skin” below, exclusively premiering on V.

Credits: Cover Image: The Sisters Elefterin with Sam Kweskin

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