Monday, 1 December 2008

I Can't Tell You How Deep It Goes

"I can’t wait to get into a position to make really bad art and get away with it. At the moment if I did certain things people would look at it, consider it and then say 'f off'. But after a while you can get away with things." - Damien Hirst (above) back in 1990.
Fast forward to the present day, and we find ourselves confronted with a music video for relatively unknown group, The Hours, with their song 'See The Light'.  The video is directed by Tony 'American History X' Kaye, and stars none other than that actress who everyone knows about cos she was going out with Jude Law one time - it's Sienna Miller! And the art director? My favourite person to put a shark in formaldehyde and call it art - Damien Hirst.  It goes without saying that there are a couple of cow carcasses in the video - a particularly moving moment comes when Miller, portraying a mentally unstable woman, smears the cows' blood over the walls and dances around like a child, presumably symbolic of a loss of innocence, the ongoing guilt and waste of mankind and, of course, the inevitability of death.  That's pretty heavy stuff considering it's just one moment from the almost eight minute long video.
Miller's acting skills are rather debatable (One YouTube viewer remarked that Sienna Miller's acting was "embarassing" leading to this poignant and insightful reply - "Is it embaressing because people or society are embarassed about people who have addiction or mental health probs and behave in 'strange ways' and we are uncomfortable with what is not 'normal' ?? maybe we all need to look a little closer in the mirror."  Whoa, another hidden meaning in this fountain of incoherent symbolism) but then maybe that's what they want us to think.  Maybe she's acting badly to highlight how we, as a celebrity-obsessed society, are constantly criticising others to make ourselves seem better.  
The scene where she writhes around in shelves full of handbags and shoes is an obvious reference to consumerism in our world.  Or maybe it isn't at all; maybe it's actually saying that artists are always focussing on consumerism, and being, like, totally ironic?
The Hours - See The Light
"Geek Alert:" [written by the band themselves] "When Sienna is talking about what is wrong with herself, check out the brand of cigarette she uses to calm her nerves.  We had the Marlboro detail digitally removed and replaced with a series of skulls going around the cigarette.  A true meter of Damien Hirst and Tony Kaye's attention to detail throughout the making of the video." 
I remain confused as to whether I think Damien Hirst is in fact one of the most genius men of our time; he knows that he can do pretty much anything in terms of his art and someone else will come up with some symbolism when there was never really anything there.  Maybe that in itself is the symbolism of his work - it symbolises nothing, but we want so desperately to see something in it that we make stuff up, so we think it's deep and spend lots of money on it.  Or realise it isn't deep at all, and spend lots of money on it.  Art is, after all, primarily a business.  Or maybe he's just an attention-seeking twat.  It's a fine line for sure.  
Oh, and The Hours' other music isn't bad either; a bit similar to Coldplay but more depressing and more experimental.  Free download of 'Ali In The Jungle' when you sign up to their mailing list:
The single, 'See The Light' is out on iTunes now, or in physical form December 8th; you can pre-order a limited edition signed vinyl with Hirst's artwork and various remixes (including by Calvin HarrisHERE.
P.S.  America got Rickrolled - funny times.


saam keephopeinside said...

It's easy criticise Sienna Miller and hence people do, often unfairly. I thought the video (and song) was pretty rubbish to be honest but I wouldn't blame Miller for that. Seen it all before. Although maybe I'm just a Sienna Miller apologist. She is a fittie mcvitie though ;o)

Tara said...

That's fair, I guess it's not her fault the video is trying to be meaningful when it's empty. She made what she could out of a badly thought-out role. And I do quite want to see Factory Girl.

And yeah - if you listen to the song I think there are actually just two lines worth of lyrics. Maybe that's deep and artistic too though; I just don't know anymore.

P.S. "fittie mcvitie" is possibly the best phrase ever