"Where Are We Now?" is the first single from David Bowie's 24th studio album, The Next Day. The single was released, with a video by Oursler, January 8 2013, Bowie's 66th birthday.
The music video, directed by Tony Oursler, shows Bowie and an unnamed female companion as conjoined "face in a hole" puppets sitting on a pommel horse, Bowie with the "permanently anxious eyes of the elderly Duke of Windsor," as Robert Everett-Green put it. The woman was later confirmed as artist Jacqueline Humphries, Oursler's wife. Bowie and Oursler reportedly wanted someone who looked like Bowie's PA, Corinne "Coco" Schwab, as she did in the 1970s in Berlin, where she, Bowie and Iggy Pop would hang out together.
The video is set in what could be an artists' studio in Berlin, where Bowie lived from 1976, showing moving black-and-white footage of the city from the 1970s on a screen. It opens with a shot of a large diamond and an empty picture frame lying on the floor, before moving into a studio containing a mishmash of items, possibly from Bowie's own life or apartment in Berlin: there are mannequins, bottles, an egg, an eyeball on a shelf, a crystal, a snowflake, and a giant blue ear. Bowie is seen toward the end of the video wearing jeans, and a T-shirt that reads "m/s Song of Norway". Sophie Heawood writes that Song of Norway (1970) was a film (based on the operetta) that Bowie's girlfriend at the time, Hermione Farthingale, left him to appear in.
The footage on the screen and references in the lyrics include the Berlin Wall and mention of the Bosebrucke, the first border crossing that opened when the Wall fell on 9 November 1989; 20,000 East Germans crossed over during the first hour the border was unofficially opened, wondering whether it was safe. The lyrics read: "twenty thousand people / Cross Bosebrucke / Fingers are crossed / just in case." Other reference points in the video and song are the Brandenburg Gate; the Dschungel nightclub; theFernsehturm, or television tower; KaDeWe, the department store; graffiti from Kunsthaus Tacheles, an art centre; Nurnberger Strasse; Potsdamer Platz railway station; theReichstag, where the Bundestag sits; the Siegessaule, or Victory Column; and the auto repair shop below the apartment in which Bowie lived.