Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Short filmic vid-ChrisCunningham-censorship

Can't really embed the vid I'll touch on here given its 147 uses of the f-word and more, but with this in mind you can watch it at
Directed by Chris Cunningham (rem, a comp. DVD of his vids is available for loan) for the Warp dance act Aphex Twin, the video for Windowlicker is an edgy satire of contemporary US urban, hip-hop cultural tropes and cliches; the far end of the spectrum from Michael Jackson's comparatively effete streetscapes in Bad or Billie Jean.

Clocking in at 10:34, this goes beyond the typical brief diegetic intro we get in many vids - again, a useful comparison would be Jackson (the John Landis-directed Thriller).
Aphex Twin play with gender identity
There's a nice, and not too complicated (the sort of thing you have the facilities as Media students to replicate), effect to create a 38-window streeeetch limo (look for the telltale repeat of light moving across the two women to see the join). The vid also sees gender identity played with (a nod to Judith Butler's 'performativity of gender' theory?), something the band have done in live performances/artshows.
Unsurprisingly, the vid was the subject of censorship - with an equally common response in that 'clean' versions were created, though MTV did receive a fine for airing an uncut version before 9pm.
I've copied in below the informative blurb from the YouTube uploader below, but put this behind a 'read more' rather than remove the swear words contained in this. But first...
Consider this: is there an issue with censoring satire of sweary, misogynistic cultural forms and behaviour, which surely requires the use of swearing and images of misogyny to function with some level of verisimilitude?
There's another useful web feature on this, and Cunninghmam's work:

Now the YouTube text:

"Windowlicker" is a 1999 single by electronic music artist Richard D. James, released under the Aphex Twin name on Warp Records. The picture on the single's cover was taken is by The Designers Republic. The single reached #16 in the UK Singles Chart.

The name of the single comes from the derogatory British term "windowlicker," meaning a mentally handicapped person. The term is also a direct English translation of the French term faire du lèche-vitrine, meaning "window shopper," a second meaning played up in the song's video.

The music video for "Windowlicker" is a ten-minute long parody of contemporary American gangsta hip-hop music videos. In the video, two foul-mouthed young men (a Latino and an African American) in Los Angeles are window shopping for prostitutes (referred to in the end credits as hoochies); the French term for window shopping is faire du lèche-vitrine, which literally translates to licking the windows. Suddenly, a ridiculously long white limousine (38 windows in length, including driver's window) crashes into the two men's black Mazda Miata (MX5) convertible, and a "pimped-out" Richard D. James, displaying a surreal amount of wealth and power, emerges with his signature fixed grin. The two women, among others, accompany James in his limousine while their faces morph into James' own likeness. The video was directed by Chris Cunningham, who also directed the infamous music video of Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" in 1997.

There are 127 uses of profanity in the dialog segment of the video (which is under 4 minutes), including 44 uses of the word "fuck." This averages to more than one use of profanity every two seconds.

The promo was nominated for the Best Video award at the BRIT Awards 2000, alongside videos by Supergrass, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, and eventual winner Robbie Williams.

The full "Windowlicker" video is restricted to being broadcast only during the nighttime on most music television channels. A bleeped-out version of the video exists, and MTV Two even made a daytime version, with all the opening dialog removed (the censored version starts with the arrival of the limousine) and some of the video's more shocking images are also removed. MTV Networks received a fine[2] by media regulator Ofcom for airing the uncensored version of the clip before 9PM.

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