Hint of Sex: Allusion in Music Videos
I am really into music (audio and video). I usually don’t just listen and watch, but I try to grasp deeper meanings and absorb what I perceive as symbols. I could really write a book on this topic because it is just so interesting to me, but I will spare you the novel! Over the last few years, I started to notice that several of the music videos I loved were using positive and negative space in ways that maybe others didn’t notice? There is often a mirror technique rendered in these videos which functions as an allusion to sex. I had to pull out some specific screen shots to show you what I mean, but underneath each shot I will explain what I see and the symbolism.
An American artist and designer from California named Dorr Bothwell wrote a book about design along these lines. Bothwell died in 2000, but in the late 60s she published a book titled Notan: The Dark-Light Principle of Design. This book was about the interaction of positive and negative space in works of art. I like to connect my ideas to other evidence to support my thoughts. This will offer my readers a chance to see for themselves that there is substance to my pop culture analysis of music videos. I selected two music videos to demonstrate what I mean. I love them both and they are contemporary videos. I have selected Miguel’s music video Girls Like You, and Madonna’s music video Girl Gone Wild. In these videos there are numerous frames capturing male and female symbols. Of course they are both about women. Hopefully when you see the shots, you can connect imagery to the music. To give you an idea of how far back these symbols reach I did some minor research.
We could start our historical journey into this symbolism with Athens and the Kantharos Wine Cup. This cup was formed using a “male-and-female combination.” What was the artist alluding to? Let’s skip on to Bothwell’s book. In one part of her book, the author studies the design of a black and white clay dish. The dish was a piece of pottery created by a Pueblo Indian from Acoma Pueblo here in New Mexico. This area “is built atop a sheer-walled, 367-foot sandstone bluff in a valley studded with sacred, towering monoliths.” The same type of symbolism I can see in these music videos was also conveyed in ancient pottery of the Acoma people. Acoma Pueblo has been part of our history “since 1150 AD,” and the pueblo “has earned the reputation as the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America.” Eons later, Lord Byron, an English poet in the Romantic Movement would say “life’s enchanted cup sparkles near the brim.” Life’s enchanted cup? It is sparkly near the brim? Would you say that the right sparkly thing would attract you regardless of sexual preference? What could Lord Byron have been alluding to?
People with Jewish roots often reference “the cup of living waters.” What is that? Living water? I would say a symbol of life and fertility. Even the ancient Celts celebrated women through symbolism. “In Paganism, the cup symbolizes water, which is a feminine element. The cup resembles a woman’s womb and is therefore considered to be the symbol of the Goddess of the Womb and the female reproductive function in general. It is an all-encompassing symbol for fertility, a woman’s gift for gestation and the creation of life; a woman’s intuition and psychic abilities; and the subconscious. In Christianity, the chalice is the symbol of the Holy Communion as it was the vessel which held the wine which symbolizes the blood of Christ. Recent symbolisms however hold the chalice as a symbol for the womb of a woman, not unlike the beliefs held by non-Christian practitioners.”
If you look at entertainment and popular culture, we have the movie the Da Vinci Code. The famous line from this movie is “and the chalice resembles a cup or vessel, or more importantly the shape of the woman’s womb. The Grail has never been a cup. It is quite literally this ancient symbol of womanhood.” What about the Cups in Tarot? The cup cards are said to represent: heart; psyche; emotions; illusion; opening; sensuality; and temptation among other things. I am sure I could find many, many more things to connect my thoughts to, but I am tired. This topic may call for a closer analysis in the future.
This entry was posted on August 1, 2012 at 12:40 AM and is filed under Allusion, Analysis, Art, Artifacts and Archaeology, Artists, Authors, Body and Mind, Books, Connection, Edification, Men, Metaphors, Music, Music Videos, New Mexico, Obsessions, Pop Culture, Symbols and Imagery, Water Symbol, Women, Worthy Reads, Writers, Writing. You can subscribe via RSS 2.0 feed to this post's comments. You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.