K-clips (HUM415)

Elena and Aldrich both recommended this track by BigBang. Taken as a whole– audio and visuals– “Fantastic Baby” is clearly a pop provocation. But is there a narrative here? Official violence, S/M motifs, masculine eye-candy that is at once effeminate and totally butch. In one sense this is a familiar story: our right to dance shall not be infringed upon (c.f. Beastie Boys’ “you gotta fight for your right to party”). On the other hand there’s an apocalyptic flavor to this video, one complicated by what I take to be imagery specific to South Korean culture. (Are those dragons?) What do you think?

Elena also recommended this track by G-Dragon, who, she notes, borrows heavily from Hip Hop conventions. Certainly the vocal delivery, fashions, and body language underscore G-Dragon’s HH influences. (Also, like BigBang he engages in code-switching between Korean and English. What does that mean?) I was interested in Elena’s observation that G-Dragon “uses the idea of commodity when he shows off his riches and things yet uses it to prove that he may be a rich kid but he worked his hardest to be there.” It’s a good interpretation, though I wonder if it’s also the case that the “conspicuous consumption”* of “One of a Kind”– a staple of many Hip Hop videos– could be taken ironically. After all, isn’t there some kind of visual irony to the fact that like all of his back-up dancers G-Dragon wears a t-shirt with the logo “One of a Kind”? I think a close reading of this video would be really productive.



*An idea first articulated in 1899 by Thorsten Veblen in The Theory of the Leisure Class.