Culture-Scope | Bound 2

Thursday, July 17, 2014

There are two polar views about this video, the former of which is more popularly accepted:

  1. That the video is a complete and utter fail compared to Kanye's near perfect catalogue of videography, with videos like West's Runaway short being one of the most iconic in recent pop history.
  2. That the video is misunderstood much like Kanye, it is a parody that is vexed for it's intentionally choppy and self-conscious editing, explicitness and implausibility (e.g. Kim's hair flowing the wrong way). 

I am going to have to agree with the latter, because I do not believe that the video is a blimp on the radar at all for West - no one of bothering to understand the video contextually. It was also a collaboration with Nick Knight of SHOWstudio, one of the most revered and experienced British film directors/editors in recent decades, who has been responsible for video's like Lady Gaga's Born This Way and has a list of awards you need more than 10 hands to count on.

 Kanye explains:
"Yeah. I think all that stuff around it is just that: controversy. I think people are afraid of dreams, and that video is one of the closest things to the way that dreams look and feel, or the way joy looks and feels, with the colors. You know, I think there are rules to fashion, with the all-black everything, and rules to art, with white galleries. There are rules to how a lot of things are: the concrete jungle, stone pavement, brick walls. There are even rules to what a Brooklyn apartment looks like."

And indeed, there are two messages in the video that stand out for me. 

One, is West's criticisms of American ideals and rules as such - the video is set in the mid-west and there is this idea of the universal American Dream that everyone is supposed to live up to, but West is often criticized as he is in the spotlight and living his own version of the dream. It is also a statement about ossifying the formula is both artistic and popular spheres, West isn't afraid to look stupid in front of you. The dream he envisions does not follow the physical plausibility that Hollywood editing is so geared toward providing audiences - why can't he use it in an intentionally phony way? 

The second salient message is more toward the surface for audiences: the video is also a statement about West's faithful love to the polarizing, Kim Kardashian, in the harsh landscape of fame, media, the filthy rich and hated. 

One point I would like to make against West is that he knowingly released the video to a general public he knew would almost all divulge the video at face value (hence it's abysmal ratings on Youtube), without understanding any tone of sarcasm or parody - for the internet can be very one dimensional and unthinking these days. In this way, the video is a blunder to it's intended audience.

Whether you like him or hate him, he does make videos and music with statements and style. What are your thoughts?

Here is the video:

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What did you think?