Tomás Doncker’s ‘Born To Be’ morphs into a sobering, darkly comedic statement on pandemic era self-care with new video by Alice Teeple

The video for ‘Born To Be‘, the title track from Tomás Doncker‘s new album, is the third in a series of videos for seven of the album’s tracks. With an eye to expanding the breadth of the album by making it a collaborative audio-visual project rather than just another record, Doncker gave four different filmmaker/videographers carte blanche to choose a song and create a visual statement for it/inspired by it. “The most important thing to me with this approach is to bring in other perspectives,” he comments. “I just wanted to get out of my own way in terms of how to present the work. I wanted to have a series of collaborations to bring in alternate points of view; just let someone pick a song, with nothing more than the directive ‘What’s your take on it?’ and be completely hands-off. I told none of the artists anything about the songs, just let each person pick whichever one they wanted and let them do their thing. You have to always be open to collaborative opportunities with like-minded artists because, in turn, their work tends to resonate with like-minded people. At that point it’s about trust and letting go. I met Alice Teeple through (frequent True Groove videographer) William Murray, and I liked her take on things. I offerd her a choice of songs and she picked “Born To Be.” When she showed me what she’d created, I loved it; it just took the song in a whole other direction I thought was very relevant.” Teeple, a New York-based performance artist/filmmaker, tapped into the song’s lyrical core and the result is a jarring black and white statement that plays on pandemic/post-pandemic fears.

“I wanted to make it look like an old German expressionist film that would have been shot almost a hundred years ago,” she notes. “It’s a song about being frustrated, and the most frustrating thing I can think of right now is the medical industry. I’m a performance artist, so I thought I’d try something completely different and act out the idea of self-care with a medical kit. I bought a toy doctor’s kit at a pharmacy, found things in my house to simulate self-medicating like using vitamins as pills… whatever I had available to me to make it look medical.”

Sporting eye makeup that seems to emphasize her inner turmoil, Teeple teeters between madness and frustration as she goes through various home testing and remedies. “I made everything more exaggerated. I wanted it to look like Louise Brooks or one of those old silent stars, and for it to feel overly theatrical. On the surface it would appear to be a very modern problem, but it’s really not. It’s cyclical. It could be post-pandemic 100 years ago or last week. It’s about karmic mistakes… here we go again, we’ve been through this before.”