Stewart Smith
Stanley Downwood 1

Black Swan, three years on

This week makes three years since publishing my (unsolicited) browser-based music video for Thom Yorke’s 2006 track Black Swan. Rather than film footage, video, or pre-composed animation, my music “video” is composed of website elements pushed around in realtime as you watch it via a mixture of style sheet and JavaScript commands.

It was a fairly dark autumn in America, with the presidential election contest between democracy and fascism looming against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic which had so abruptly turned the country upside down half a year earlier. (Not to mention climate change; the hottest summer and autumn on record to date.) Revisiting this old animation idea was a pleasant break from the reality around us—and served as a birthday present of sorts for Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood who share my birth month of October; the best month.

Read more about the Black Swan music video here, or visit and execute the animation here.

Post script: For my own birthday this year, my step-daughter, Charlie Jacoby, gifted me Stanley Donwood’s “There will be no quiet” (pictured above) which is quite lovely—and of course features the artwork he created for Thom Yorke’s Eraser record on which Black Swan appears.