ARTS

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April 12, 2002

What kind of total disregard for humanity do you have

Air, apparently, has released a video to accompany a re-edit of the opening track of 10,000 Hz Legend, "How Does It Make You Feel?" The first video from the album—for "Radio #1"—was a bit disturbing, but also weirdly comical. The video, of a robot couple preparing breakfast until the breakfast falls apart, reminds the viewer that technology has the limitation of not knowing its own limitations. The robots, for example, keep putting food in the dog bowl, even though it is rather clear that the dog (how hilarious are living pets of robots?) does not eat in pace with the food being provided for him. The video itself unwinds as the robots begin indiscriminately hurling food at each other.

"How Does It Make You Feel?" however, corresponds more closely to the theme of robot love that permeates 10,000 Hz Legend. During the course of the video, a HAL-like robot, who speaks as words appear onscreen, constructs a loved object (I suppose)—a woman constructed by pieces sliding together (this is interesting because the construction is done only by filming the woman as a whole and then using a computer to take her image (and, hence, not her per se) apart, only to reconstruct a her that was already filmed in its totality), only achieving movement when the parts click together. But it's a bit more complicated than that, too: the pieces are not jigsaw pieces—as each chunk of body is cleaved cleanly, then the pieces cannot really fit together. In fact, this happens to the woman's head—it fits together and the woman looks around, completely bewildered, until the top (nose-upward) keeps slipping along off the base of her head. The loss of control over the construction of the loved object coincides with a fire raging through the computer-creator's insides. The computer's vacuum tubes start to explode, and a slow-moving silvery metal engulfs all of his transistors and resistors.

As the computer self-destructs, the woman's construction becomes awry—by the song's end, she has someone else's right arm and a fish head wearing Mickey Mouse ears atop her neck. The arm, the new arm, has a tattoo of a skull with the legend "Love" on it. I suppose the point here is that the computer tries to build a loved object, something he can control and something that can accept his love, but as he gets close to completing this object, his system explodes—one can't really create something to love. We see this in Rocky Horror Picture Show, too, after all. Dr. Frankenfurter tried to subjugate Columbia and Eddie, but couldn't keep them under his thumb. So he built Rocky. Rocky would be his loved object. But loving something you create is just self-love, and, hence, maybe not really love. So it's no surprise that Rocky quickly ends up in Janet's arms. Furthermore, with the fish head affixed to the woman's body, the Air video really disturbs the viewer, already shaken up by the creepy images of portions of body sliding together to form a person in the first place. The woman with the fish head addresses the camera to close the video, saying it's really time to consider stopping smoking.

But if the Air video is not quite creepy enough for the more discerning members of my global fanbase, then perhaps the wild success to be enjoyed presently by Andrew W.K. will cause a bit of disjointment and disorientation. The Sincere Punk might now complain about whether it is proper to talk about Andrew W.K. in mid-April, especially now th