USA Maneikis presents us his distopic “CONCUSSION”

Concussion is a dark satire focusing its black light on the nefarity of the creative industry and the toxic stereotypes lurking in entertainment. Director Diego Lozano says “the aim is to focus on themes such as sexuality, greed, and the fetishization of violence to use those themes as tools to start positive dialogue towards a more inclusive society.” Rapper Maneikis adds, ” The video is designed to make you uncomfortable to the point that you need to confront the origin of your discomfort.”

Shot in Monterrey, Mexico in late January, the video seemingly predicts the pandemic. The first scene of the video portrays a masked figure strolling through a futuristic society with the Latin “Ars Delenda Est” (Art Must Be Destroyed) in shimmering font. Maneikis says it was important that the purpose of the video was established in the opening shot. “I am constantly evaluating the purpose of art and my place in art’s orbit. I wrote Concussion as a rebellion against two types of pressure: 1. society’s pressure on the individual to lose their individuality in favor of working a typical 9-5 and 2. the self-inflicted pressure we put on ourselves and the lengths people will go to show that they are different and not part of this “normal” society. You want to stand out, but you don’t want to lose yourself in the search for notoriety and fame.” Maneikis continues, “I often find myself collapsing at the fork in the road of my destiny. Should I give up my pursuit of an indelible legacy and take pride in the fact that I am happy and healthy, or should I risk everything, my job included, in the hopes that one day my work will change the world? I respect everyone who commits their life to art, but I think many people (myself at the top of that list) use it as a crutch and are afraid to be bold enough to admit their work isn’t good enough. There’s nothing romantic about being a starving artist, but so many artists are too afraid to risk everything in order to eat. So now they aren’t an artist. To me they are just starving. Some days it drives me insane trying to decide who I am and who I’ll be tomorrow. Hence the name Concussion.”

The song (produced by acclaimed Austin-based artist Haris Qureshi) is a raw and gritty track that perfectly accompanies Maneikis’ hard-hitting lyrics. Inspired by the rise and fall of Kanye West, Maneikis alludes to West’s verse in the smash hit “Monster” as he bellows “We live in the time of the apocalypse, so my best advice is just to keep on popping shit! Have you ever had sex with a pornstar? Don’t you worry bout the consequence.” Maneikis points to West as his main influence as an artist and someone who was willing to risk everything for his art only to be swallowed whole by it. “Kanye’s story is so sad. I still believe in him, but I don’t know if he believes in himself anymore. I don’t pretend to know anything about his true personal demons, but you can feel the inner turmoil in all of his music. I want to be as great as Kanye West, but I don’t know if that means I’ll have to lose myself along the way.”

One thing is for sure though, you will lose yourself in this video. We just hope to find a more honest version of yourself on the other side.