Good morning on this the twenty second day of November, in the year of our Lord 2016.
I’ve been watching the music video for Lindsey Stirling’s Hold My Heart, featuring ZZ Ward:
The imagery is very interesting. I’m thinking of doing a video about this at some point, but there’s a curious visual style in music videos used to convey the idea that we’re watching something of great importance.
One of the very common ones is backup dancers. When you have several people moving in sync with the main singer, it makes them seem important. Several people concentrating on one person ordinarily means that there is something important about that person, in the moment, anyway. Also that the person who is the focus, and where all the backup dancers can see them, is being copied also suggests importance. People usually only copy what’s worth copying.
But it’s interesting how ZZ (an initialism from her name, Zsuzsanna) is presented. She’s dressed very ornately, in a large chair, and is moving with large, exaggerated movements. It looks very important, but why? If that were in real life it would look absurd. Anyone who has known a goth is familiar with the absurdity of self-important presentation, even when it looks good in stillness. So why does it work? ZZ is pretty, but not breathtakingly so. And the way she sits in the chair reminds me of Lady Catherine from the A&E/BBC co-production of Pride & Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle), and yet here it looks good. Why?
I submit it’s because of the camera work. Lady Catherine is an antagonist in Pride & Prejudice, and the camera keeps its distance from her. It lingers unflatteringly, after moments of activity into moments of stillness. The camera clearly doesn’t like her. Whereas with ZZ, the camera moves in a way to suggest it’s entranced by her. It lingers on unimportant moments where something is about to happen, as if anticipating something good, then cuts away before they happen, as if we couldn’t bear that much greatness. It’s very subtle and I’m not describing it well, and I don’t mean to suggest it’s manipulating the viewer. It’s an art form; all (beautiful) art consists of suggestion. Reality comes to us at its own pace; art works by suggesting more of reality than fits in a moment, but since the art itself is real, it can only do that by suggestion, not by actuality. “Art unveils worlds of meaning” is how I heard Heidegger said it. This is also, I think, why Nietzsche hoped for the overman through art; because art suggests more reality than fits into a moment, it suggests the possibility of a greater reality than we have access to at present. Alas, only beholding the beatific vision can actually contain that. The only one who could ever be the overman poor Nietzsche hoped for is God himself.