Warning: This post contains nudity and adult subject matters.
For the launch of Anja Rubik’s new magazine, 25, photographer and director Barnaby Roper teamed up with Kanye West to make a video dedicated to the issue’s theme of eroticism. The result is, well, umm…Satanic. I can’t really find another way of describing it, because it is neither cool, nor fun or even interesting.
Mixing Christian images with BDSM has been done ad-nauseam by pretty much every pop star the industry decided to shove down our collective throat and this video just wants to keep it going. However, today, the industry is not about being “original”, “artistic” or even “shocking” anymore, it is about bombarding the youth with the same set of images and meanings until it is completely indoctrinated.
While it is said that the video is about making eroticism “beautiful”, most probably get the feeling that it makes eroticism appear evil and wrong. It is full of what I call “semi-subliminals”, images that are flashed for a split second but long enough to be recognized. And these images are not very pretty. Let’s look at the some of the video’s scenes.
The video begins with Kanye saying:
“Through me, the way into the suffering city,
Through me, the way to everlasting pain,
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
This is an excerpt from Dante’s epic poem Inferno, specifically Canto III: The Gate of Hell. As its name states, that part of the poem describes what is written at the Gate of Hell – which is a somewhat strange introduction for a video about sexuality. It is however fitting, because the video is all about pain, suffering and evil.
The video then consists of images of people dressed in bondage with a whole lot of kaleidoscope effects. Images are quickly flashed and many contain “shocking” symbolism. Well it was shocking in 1992. Now it is just repeated propaganda.
There is no in-depth analysis needed for this video: It is just a collection of clichéd images the industry keeps bombarding the youth with, juxtaposing one symbol over another and creating associations in the viewer’s minds. Why does sexuality always has to be associated with evil, violence and torture? Why does fashion always has to look like snuff films depicting live and real violence?
The answer is complex but also quite simply. It is about debasing the youth, furthering it from what is real and pure and introducing it to the elite’s perverted and twisted world.