Yesterday, I wrote an article about the maddeningly engrossing (and really pretty gross) "Iamamiwhoami" viral campaign, a series of YouTube clips that feature plenty of fetal imagery, trees excreting milky fluids, miscellaneous body parts and one particularly grisly live birth.
The whole point of the article was that, despite much speculation, Christina Aguilera has nothing to do with the campaign (her publicist told me so), but judging from the comments I got from plenty of readers (as well as the theories posted on the "Iamamiwhoami" YouTube page) no one seemed to believe me. But I'm believing what her people told me: Christina is "100 percent not" behind this.
So that raises the obvious question: Who is? In a further attempt to get to the bottom of this, I decided to make a list of the prime suspects and why each of them may (or may not) be posting the videos. What can I say? I'm a sucker for these sorts of mysteries.
Trent Reznor: His name keeps popping up mostly because of a mysterious message he posted on Nine Inch Nails' official site, which hinted at new material from a project "that isn't Nine Inch Nails." Not to mention he's done this kind of thing before: In 2007, he launched a massive viral campaign for his Year Zero album, which, thanks to a myriad of Web sites and a generally compelling back story, sort of set the standard against which all other viral efforts will be measured. Still, I'm not so sure he's behind "Iamamiwhoami," if only because the music that can be heard in the various clips doesn't strike me as particularly Reznor-ian. It's too, well, Swedish. Which leads us to …
The Knife: They are Swedish, not to mention plenty weird (for proof of this, check out this recent acceptance speech by Knife member Karin Dreijer Andersson). Combine that with the fact that they're releasing an album based on an opera about Charles Darwin, and the "Iamami …" clips are pornographically natural, and you've got who I believe to be the prime suspects.
MGMT: With their Congratulations album due this year, they too were in play until I received an email from their publicist yesterday evening telling me they had nothing to do with the clips. So I'm striking them from the list, too.
Aphex Twin: Richard D. James has both the technical wherewithal and the necessary levels of insanity to pull something like this off. He is apparently working on a new album, though he seems to have been recording under the moniker of "The Tuss" in recent years. He also seems to be comfortable straddling the line between "technology" and "nature," which the "Iamami …" clips do as well. Then again, he's not particularly Swedish. Still, I'm not writing him off just yet. Consider him a long shot, but still very much in play.
The Golden Filter: The late arrivals to the sweepstakes, this electronic duo have an album called Voluspa due in April, and the cover image seems as if it was practically lifted from one of the "Iamami …" clips. Not to mention they operate a photo blog that maintains much of the same vibe. Emails to both their manager and publicist went unanswered, so I'm making them my dark horse candidates.
Goldfrapp: They have used natural imagery in the past, but they recently unveiled the air-brushy cover art for their Headfirst album, and let's just say it doesn't seem to fit with the dank images of the YouTube clips. So they're out as far as I'm concerned.
Lady Gaga: She's still promoting her The Fame Monster album, and though she's certainly arty (and crazy) enough to pull off something like "Iamami …" she also seems too busy to invest the amount of time necessary.
Britney Spears: No freaking way.
Who do you think is behind one of the best viral campaigns we've seen in years? Leave your ideas in the comments!