Journey into The Original
Artist Thomas Traum reveals his vision
In his intriguing interpretation of Glenmorangie’s signature single malt, German artist Thomas Traum takes viewers on a literal, yet delightfully abstract journey from the whisky’s origins in the Scottish Highlands, to the finished bottle. London-based Traum, whose work aims to find new applications for technology’s use in design and art, took his inspiration from The Original’s singularly complex character and its ten-year journey to maturity. Harnessing ASMR triggers, he contrasted close-up camera work with wide views, to explore a variety of surfaces and textures relevant to the whisky’s creation. Then, computer-generated imagery was used to heighten and alter these experiences for the viewer. Thus, his film portrays a world filled with familiar elements – made somehow alien. These include the Scottish barley from which the whisky is made, the Highland landscape and the wooden casks which are only ever used twice to mature The Original. Traum’s work culminates in a vivid portrayal of the myriad tastes and aromas for which this smooth and rounded whisky is renowned.
Thomas Traum: “I have always been interested in the transformational process of making Glenmorangie’s single malt whisky. In its most simplistic form, Glenmorangie Original begins with a grain. Distilled and left in a barrel for ten years, eventually, it emerges as a whisky that is incredibly complex full of so many different tastes and aromas. I’ve always marvelled at that long process, which culminates in such an explosion of flavour.
“In the film, I wanted to explore this idea of the different elements changing state over and over again. So, barley becomes water, becomes liquid… and wood, via a distillation, becomes liquid glass – and then becomes a loch.
“The aim was to take the viewer on a journey through the whisky creation process. They start off in a beautiful place, then see the barley, the distillation, the maturation… it’s very literal in a way. But everything is slightly shifted – an unreal reality. For instance, you see liquid wood, reflective barley and a loch as a whisky glass. The aim was to create an essential experience – an exploration of materiality.”