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Watch: 'Nothing to Declare' by MGMT
10 January 2024

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Following earlier singles “Mother Nature” and “Bubblegum Dog”, MGMT are back with another single off their forthcoming album Loss Of Life, the quietly contemplative and cinematic “Nothing To Declare”. The song is accompanied by an official video, directed by Joey Frank (MGMT’s “Me & Michael”) and starring Inga Petry, a student at the University of Pittsburgh where she studies philosophy and pre-law who uses her growing social media platform to spread awareness for the disabled community. I

n the video, the camera follows Petry, who was born with upper limb aplasia, as she makes her way through Paris, eventually ending up at the iconic sculpture of the Venus de Milo at the Louvre. Director Joey Frank discovered Petry through her TikTok, which she utilizes to share with others the way she lives her life despite her differences and difficulties she faces, with the intention of learning from one another’s differences. Watch the video here:

Frank spoke about the video’s concept, saying: “When I first saw Inga on TikTok, I imagined her as the star of a foreign film. A certain brand of 1990’s European independent cinema typified by the Dardenne brothers always essentially follows a human navigating through life. Inga has been armless all her life, which lends a different kind of vulnerability to the simple narrative of a self-possessed young woman traveling from Pittsburgh to Paris. In real life, Inga puts herself online in a very candid way on TikTok, but the ‘Nothing to Declare’ MGMT music video plays on the aesthetics of independent cinema to allow the audience a different sort of emotional fictive space with Inga as ingenue.”

Inga Petry adds: “When I was first approached by Joey to do this project, it was the parallelism in his vision that first drew me in. We listened to ‘Nothing To Declare’ as he took me through the concept of the video and I was met with the juxtaposition of beauty and melancholy. Having grown up with no arms, I have been watched my whole life. In some respects, the Venus de Milo has always felt analogous to my life, and specifically to the character I portray in this film. She’s adored, respected, and almost constantly surrounded by people, and yet she stands alone and her past is unknown. There have always been questions surrounding her arms and she has never had to answer or prove her worth. From my perspective, she has nothing to declare. Playing this character that is different, and not just because she doesn’t have arms, but by the way she handles the difference and still feeds on new curiosity was a really beautiful experience.”

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Petry continues: “As an individual, the song and film resonated to me in another way as well. At the time of the initial filming I had just been diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. This changed my personal perception of the film and pulled me away from seeing it as a way to artistically see how my character exists with differences within her environment, and made it an experience of the individual. At this point in time, to me, ‘Nothing To Declare’ no longer meant that you don’t have to explain your circumstances, but instead it felt like a literal statement going through the customs of life. After this diagnosis, I couldn’t exist as the same person I was. I had to put a lot of my personal goals aside to focus on my health and recovery. In that respect, I had to end one chapter of my life and enter a new one. A chapter that doesn’t care about who I was before or what aspirations I was striving toward. Instead, one that focuses on removing all the cancer and only then will I be able to start living again. My wish is for people to watch the video and enjoy the art and mystery. I hope the vulnerability and curiosity that we captured is felt by the viewer.”
  author: CHRISTOPHER NOSNIBOR 10 January 2024