This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
White Noise: Video of the Week: The Flaming Lips - Powerless

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Video of the Week: The Flaming Lips - Powerless

For the second installation of my new video feature, I’ve chosen The Flaming Lips’ curious and beautiful video for Powerless¸ from their 2009 album Embryonic. In last week’s video I discussed how the visual can be tied to the musical in order to create an emotional effect, but here I’m focussing more on the aesthetics of a music video, and how vague symbols can be used to resonate with a wide audience.

The most obvious comment to be made here is that the video has an utterly unique visual tone, with a muted colour palette and extraordinary shots, often incorporating clever lens flares to give a sense of the heat and isolation of the woman’s situation. Aside from looking lush and visually striking, the video also appears to make an ambiguous point about the concept of power. The woman is intensely sexualised from the very start, wearing a tee shirt and tiny hot pants, with the occasional crotch-shot adding to the image. This sexuality is juxtaposed slightly unappealingly by the fact that she is tied up and trying to get free, creating the idea of a sexual object without any freedom. Then added to the situation is the monkey staring at her, perhaps symbolising the masculine oppressor watching over her, perhaps there’s an alternate reading of its role too. As Coyne intones “No one is ever really powerless” she calms and begins a transformation in perfect timing with the taut guitar riffs, and the visual effect of her body essentially glitching and transforming is a very arresting one. Transformation complete, she is no longer tied up, and desperately claws her way from her restraints and flees, dancing and rejoicing in her new freedom of movement. However, although she acts as if she is now free she does not take off her blindfold, and she is still watched over by her simian oppressor. Is this freedom or just an illusion of freedom in a wider prison? Either way, the video is extraordinary in its visual atmosphere, as well as giving you a lot to chew on intellectually, even if it doesn’t give any concrete answers.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home