Lady Gaga’s latest video, Alejandro (2010), has endeared itself to me on the very first playthrough. The only Gaga video that I hold higher esteem for is Paparazzi. I would contend that the aesthetic atmosphere of the Alejandro MV lends itself to comparisons of paintings by the prominent erotic fantasy illustrator Luis Royo. Luis Royo’s artwork features precarious beauties who wield smoke and rusted steel in an uncompromising cyborg terrain. Somehow, Royo makes his images soft like reveries but hard like industrial winters. There’s something bitter about the grimy but refined aesthetic.
That Alejandro employed less of the hyperextended MTV cuts so promiscious in many of Gaga’s videos made the MV look positively similar to a tableau. However, while Royo’s paintings are imminently directed towards a heteronormative male fantasy over the exotic female object, Alejandro is more progressive by questioning images of male and female beauty as well as who moves with authority or leadership in such an image. Alejandro overturned the relentlessly unquestioning beauty of the gothic woman as artifact and gave her teeth (for Gaga’s fangs, see 2:26) and a roving, penetrating gaze.
Note: Counterparts are a series of short posts that compares one film or video to another cultural object based on what I’m tangentially reminded of when I experience a certain cultural or leisure activity. It basically lets me casually mention images that capture my attention and, also equally casually, work in Humanities modes of analysis that I’ve read about or employed the last few years. Furthermore, it encapsulates the philosophy behind the hodgepodge of topics that I’ve allowed on Engine Tones: because games do generate conversations with everything else, and visa versa with other cultural progresses. This loose and fast compare-and-contrast can work between TV commercials and museum pieces, MVs and video games, films and plays, and so on. I will aim to update with new renditions every Friday, although this is by no means a hard and fast rule. Friday has consistently been the day that my university’s club offered a good offering of non-mainstream films in the screening facilities. Friday had also been consistently the day that is notoriously bad for me to schedule any large chunk of extracurriculars, between dance practice and relatives visiting. So this is an open but indirect homage to all those Friday indie films that I’ve missed.