Being able to analyse other artists work can help us gain an insight into how other people could potentially view ourselves. On our Friday lectures with Dr Anna Powell, we learnt about the three levels of analysis according to Erwin Panofsky’s level of strata: Primary (or Natural), which is what you see at a first glance, Conventional, which is looking a little more philosophically, and finally Intrinsic, which is where it is put into context, and perhaps analysing what this potentially says about the creator (i.e. the artist or animator). The final level is the one makes most people cringe, more so the artist, and artist Dawn Mellor, made it clear that it can be offensive.
We were shown three videos prior our lecture on the three layers of strata. Please see my analysis below of each video according to these three levels. Please be warned that the “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” videos may not be suitable for all.
Without the actual translations, this is the analysis for this video: PonPonPon by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu contains references to war but in a childlike, Willy Wonka style. This perhaps creates an element of playfulness and innocence to an otherwise adult issue. By doing this the concept of war could be deemed appealing. If not to be seen appealing, this may just be a way of eradicating the fears and anxieties that coincide with consequences of such an event.
The mirrored, faceless figure could represent a “fat cat” and if it is intact the singer who is mimicking it, could this mean that the political leader is like a puppet master? With Japan being the world leaders in technological development in gaming, this puppet master like effect is also quite like a dance game such as in the “Just Dance” series and has potential to show that political leaders think that the concepts of war and running a country is merely a game ad as a consequence will aide in the leader’s desire to “play God”. So is this a propaganda piece?
If it was in fact the singer who was the leader in the dance, then this could give the impression that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu wants to be a leader through any means possible. After being nominated for the “World’s Best Female Artist” and many other world titles, this could suggest that she is frustrated at her lack of “wins” in these competitions. Nominations may not be good enough for her and this video may be seen as threat to her competitors that she will “take them out” just to get on top in her career. One questionable factor, however, is that was it the singer, or an outside artist that imagined such a music video? If it was someone else, would this analysis still be correct about said singer, due to the fact she would have had to approve the nature of the music video’s aesthetics?
Aside from questioning why green is not a creative colour, to which there are many theories including green representing the Frontal Lobe in the brain which is the part of the brain that is in charge of logical thinking and that green is not a primary colour and therefore cannot make any other colour, this video make an audience question whether or not creativity is a route of being constructive or destructive.
At a first glance this video could be seen as a progressively more grotesque version of Seseme Street. Though Seseme Street’s theme asks “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Seseme Street?” I can assure you that after watching both this video, and the video below, I will not be wanting to go to whatever street this asylum is on.
If we want to question the potential audience for such a video, we should consider the fact that these videos begin like most children’s programmes. Perhaps the artist enjoys the “Santa Effect”, i.e. what happens when a child finds out “the truth”. Just from the concept alone of taking enjoyment out of watching a child psychologically suffer, shows a disturbed mind. Either the artists have sociopathic tendencies or retaliating from childhood trauma could be the underpinning element to these pieces.
If this series is in fact for a more age appropriate audience, i.e. adults, then this video could take on a whole new meaning. Could this series try to explain what we do to children’s innocence when they go through life and the education system? With art and design not being at the forefront of any curriculum, and is barely given the light of day in schools, the ability to be creative is taken away as children are forced into a stereotyped mould that we deem “perfect” in our developing societies. Would the artist therefore just be crying out in desperation for us to leave children child-like?
With all of this being said for all of the videos above ad further research into “childhood spoilers”, it is safe to say that sometimes we can over analyse. Perhaps art should be left to the imagination, and if it needs explaining, then it should be, but by the artist. A psychological assessment of said artist can be done from what they have perceived their on work to be. Sometimes an artist will describe the sky as blue because it symbolises the emotion of sadness, but for the rest of us: the sky is blue because it’s blue.