Whateverest – The Heap Of Things That Didn’t Work Out

15 Feb

How do people come up with this?

Think about where songs start from. How often do you say to yourself “I’m going to make a song that goes like this…” and then have it turn out that way?

More often than not, don’t creative works just kind of materialize? The best ones? And the best ones often get finished out of a kind of frantic momentum (in the best moments).

And that’s what makes it worth it.

So where do films start from? I don’t think it’s always as linear as it seems.

P. T. Anderson had a brilliant way of ‘compiling’ his film Magnolia, starting out with random scraps of prose, things taken from interviews, his own recent experiences and a mix of songs and a mix of actors he all wanted to use in the same thing. The film kind of materialized.

This is the brilliance of music and film, they both have a common element: motion. The rhythm of editing.  I’m sure writing does, too.  Poetry for sure.

There is so much motion in Whateverest that the time you’re watching it glides by as smoothly as the slow motion shots of Marius Solem Johansen riding his bike. I recommend you watch it now, so I don’t spoil it for you:

WHATEVEREST from Kristoffer Borgli on Vimeo.

How do things like this actually get made, though?

In an interview a few weeks ago in i-D magazine, the director (Kristoffer Borgli) said: “It was me calling Todd Terje, saying I was in love with his track ‘Inspector Norse’, and that I wanted to make something.”

That was it.

Borgli fell in love with a song. Then he found the guy who made the song and told him: I want to do something with that song.

All it took was Borgli’s sincerity of feeling and reaching out to the source of his inspiration.


That’s all it takes.

Imagine what could get made if people reached out more in that moment of inspiration.

I think art exists to pass along inspiration from one mind to the other.  Then to communicate something with that.

When I first heard Inspector Norse last summer, I immediately bought it and threw it into a mix. It’s such a bouncy, nerdy, nostalgic synth song that you can’t resist it.

I had no idea that a song like this could be used to communicate such relevant themes as are touched on in Whateverest.

Many themes come up that resonated with me, and maybe would with you, too…

  • Wanting to make something “cool” and feeling the oppressive weight of your own expectations with your creations.
  • The idea of “giving up” and “failure” what that means and how we define it.
  • How we justify things and rationalize to ourselves.
  • The feeling of being a loner with a dream that isn’t guaranteed to work out.

The main theme of course, as symbolized by Mount Everest, is as Marius puts it: “The heap of things that didn’t work out.”

That could be a book.

Suddenly, the poppy, shuffling little Arp sounds in that cheerful disco jam from last summer take on a heartbreaking quality to them.

Borgli said the themes came from his own life.  He told i-D that ”At the time, I felt very uncreative and had a little personal crisis. I started envisioning myself as this failed film maker who just stopped making stuff at the age of 27.”

Marius, despite his sort of sad talk of “giving up” earlier in the film, in the end not only accepts it, but paints himself as lucky.

He gestures to the wide spans of beach around him (“look at this shit“), and dreams of raves with “no people around”.

A lot of us vaguely have a ‘place’ we dream of.  The migration of 20-somethings to big cities being an example. As if just moving somewhere means you have your pick of ‘success.’  For Marius, it was Oslo, but it didn’t “work out.”


Marius is a person you admire the way you admire someone who is pure at heart yet who is missing something -there’s a feeling of melancholy, and sadness there.

It’s not sad because he’s not successful, but because he clung to ideas of success and then gave up creating because those ideas didn’t “work out.”

And maybe it makes you wonder about yourself, too, if all your striving will come to fruitio

It makes you ask yourself what version of reality you are willing to ‘accept’ as reality. In Marius’ case, it’s a bummer because he truly gave up. He let himself become convinced that things didn’t “work out” since they hadn’t proved fruitful by the time he reached 27.

Marius’ reality is a bummer mostly because of the expectations he had.

You become an adult and yet sometimes you still have these dreams you feel beholden to, and for some reason things are just supposed to ‘work out’.

It challenges the notions of a whole generation of artists and our own notions of success & failure.  Or it did for me, at least.

The thing is -I can relate to Marius in a way. How about you?

Specifically when he says “It’s not like everything you do at one point you’ll want to do forever…”

I know what that’s like. I have a ton of interests, I’m a multipotentialite. I really don’t want to do any one thing forever.

I don’t consider myself ‘failed’ just because I stop doing something. I think that is a particularly specialist way of looking at things. Fatalistic, even.

Marius is a bittersweet example of a mindset I can relate to having before.

That whole idea of things not “working out,” because you’re not famous or you’re not making a living doing what you dreamed of. It also is that kind of perspective that sometimes makes people give up.

You just gotta keep on searchin’, as my friend Js One says.

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