A self-proclaimed “multi-disciplinary artist,” Elie-Pierre, who uses the stage name IGOR360, is distinct in that his work is not product-driven. Instead, he conducts experiments; he cares more about the processes, the how and the why, where other artists cast their gaze instead on the final product, sticking closely to the choreography and the fixed plans that will get them there. IGOR360 uses Merged Subjects and the rest of his EP, PivoT to answer a question: Can we communicate empathy across digital platforms through our screens? If so, how?
The artist’s self-released album, PivoT, comes out on June 14th. Merged Subjects is one track on the EP, and it’s due to be released one day before the other five. What distinguishes it from the rest is its accompanying film, with which the artist takes his experiment one step further. During the COVID pandemic, Elie-Pierre got hooked on watching dance videos, as did millions of other Tik Tok and Instagram users. He became fascinated by movement, particularly during a time when he was condemned to a state of inertia—"it felt like I was moving through the dancers,” the artist says.
It makes sense that, for this project, Elie-Pierre picked the two dancers he picked: for both Emma Gordon and Madison Lynch, two young women based in New York City, dance is a means rather than an end. Madison uses dance as a platform through which to advocate for suicide prevention, an issue central to her emotional life. Emma’s relationship to dance is meta as well, serving as an accompaniment to her musings as a young, highly introspective woman. She uses the Instagram account as an accompaniment to her performance art. Before—and largely throughout—the video’s production, Madison and Emma were strangers. Throughout most of the video, they do not see each other, either dancing in different parts of the city or sharing the same stage but wearing blindfolds.
In the last scene of the video, Gordon and Lynch remove their blindfolds. We reach the eye of the storm: ceaseless movement, fast, chaotic movement, suddenly slows. The dancers pause for a moment, and then the two run towards each other, meeting in embrace. On a big, empty stage, instead of seeking privacy or space, they choose to share a single square foot. They become merged figures. Elie-Pierre landed on the title for this track after the video was shot—the quintessence of why his characteristic reversal of process/ product is so brilliant.
Movement, as a concept in IGOR360’s work, moves itself, far beyond the boundaries of the Merged Subjects track/video. In PivoT, Elie-Pierre thinks about fluctuation. He considers the vacillation of a person, a movement, an experience from spotlight to periphery, and how we process those shifts. He uses the saxophone and the synth—and the way they take turns in the spotlight—to symbolise this phenomenon. Another track, How She Rises, is an ode to “vivre-ensemble,” to living together and to existing in support of one another’s existences. Elie-Pierre uses the “she” pronoun to build a relationship between a narrator and a subject, possibly even the narrator and the listener. The narrator observes the subject from afar, remaining omniscient and omnibenevolent to her [the subject’s] coming up in the world.
Building on themes of communal welfare and mutual support, the artist offers King West as an ode to his beloved city, Toronto, and to the street on which he lived, King Street West. Elie-Pierre is enchanted by the city’s accessibility; the compact epicentre offers efficient transportation, social services, and stimulation. The King West track is consistently abundant in the latter; for the sound, IGOR360 found himself inspired by everything from “patio restaurants and clubs, dance studios on Queens Street” to “street-cleaning machines, never-ending sidewalk construction or condo renovations,” to “street musicians.” King West embraces all noise as beautiful.
Though he adores Toronto, Igor Elie-Pierre considers himself a person of the world more than ‘a person from Toronto.’ His resistance to confinement is apparent in his career as well, which involves shooting pictures of Kaia Gerber and the likes at Paris Fashion Week, designing sneaker and t-shirt collections, making music, and now producing films. He disapproves of the relegation of people to one certain place or one particular activity at the expense of all others. As a mausoleum to this concept, Elie-Pierre brings us Where Are You From? The song features a voice that asks, again and again, insistently and with fervour, "Where are you from?!” Having lived in nine cities, the artist is familiar with the feeling of otherness and phenomena such as nativism, xenophobia, racism, etc. Though he acknowledges that this question [where are you from?] can be asked with pure intent, he also knows the exclusionary undertones often accompanying it.
Igor Elie-Pierre is hard to track. Physically, he’s everywhere, and conceptually, he’s everywhere and beyond. Though blatantly untraditional, IGOR360 meets the definition of artist in the most traditional sense, in that he is a captive to creativity. PivoT and Merged Subjects, his most recent creative acts, communicate a plethora of heavy concepts with the utmost playfulness and careful attention to aesthetics and sound.