“…the video takes what people like and hate about Ye’s persona and pushes it to the limit, the video also ‘walks the fine line between self aggrandizement and self mockery.’ “
That was a quote that accompanied a small description of the film that you see above you. Immediately upon watching I found myself confused and intrigued. I found myself asking “what is this?”, “what is he trying to do or say with this film?”, and “when am I going to get to see the Girl® Skate team?”(haha). However, after watching I got a better understanding and called upon the skills I’ve amassed as a student of art history to further decipher the meaning of everything going on within the film.
I won’t go into a scene by scene description, but I will identify a number of key things:
1. Slated for a release around the time that his 808’s and Heartbreak album debuted, this is a reflection of him at that time. Like the album this film is an instance where we see raw emotion from someone, who according to the unwritten rules of rap, is not allowed to show vulnerability. Although alcohol has come into play and has amplified these emotions it allows for an unabashed side of Kanye that everyone around him seems to find discomfort in.
2. The expulsion of Rose petals or flower petals of some sort. Considering the historical context of this film, and the action that takes place to illustrate this “discharge of sentiment”, it can easily be read as not a forceful but an imminent or necessary action considering the coldness that Kanye experienced in the club…(in life?)
3. The little guy at the end and Freud’s “Id, Ego and Super Ego” As we reach the end of the film, we witness what we witness(watch THAT SHIT). The “Id” is described by Freud as “…the dark, inaccessible part of our personality…we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations… It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organisation, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.” Now when you take that into consideration Kanye’s actions over the course of the film make more sense; jubilation at hearing his new song in the club, his interaction with party goers, the leopard print dress… by removing the small creature he is intent on separating this part of himself from himself. Thus we have the Ego(something we all know we associate with Kanye); “…The ego is that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world … The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions … in its relation to the id it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse.” As the two interact an ultimate decision is made and one must go while the other remains. Now a bit of back tracking must occur; when he realizes what he has done we come face to face with what can be considered the “Super Ego” described by Freud as “a type of conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt”. This “Super Ego” is often said to contradict the actions of the “Id”. The Super Ego strives to act in a socially appropriate manner conversely the “Id” is focused or set out on gaining nothing more than self gratification.
Here we have a film that serves as self reflection and biography of an artist and a troubled soul.
Now doesn’t that make it all clear as day, and you thought Kanye was just being weird…