Check out this screenshot of rapper Kanye West in his brand new “Power” music video, which is set to drop ANY DAY NOW!
Artist Marco Brambilla directed the video and offered the NY Times’ Art Beat a sneak peak into how it will be. He described his collaboration with Mr. West as a “video work that’s been commissioned by Kanye to accompany the music,” rather than just a simple music video, and said t he project was he and Kanye’s attempt to answer the question: “How do you visually paint a portrait of Power?”
Peep a description of how the new video will be below:
In a coming video for his single “Power,” Mr. West is seen standing imposingly with a heavy chain around his neck. As Mr. West raps, the camera slowly zooms out in one continuous, unedited take to reveal him in a classical structure, surrounded by female attendants who are partly or entirely nude; some kneel before him on all fours, others wear devil horns and still others are suspended upside down from the ceiling. The sword of Damocles hangs precariously over Mr. West’s head, and behind him an unseen executioner is preparing to strike him with a blade.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Brambilla explained that he was drawn to the project because, he said, “it’s kind of apocalyptic, in a very personal way.” Speaking of Mr. West’s track “Power,” which includes refrains like “No one man should have all that power” and “This would be a beautiful death,” Mr. Brambilla said: “It had this very dark, personal conflict within it. Because of his own concept of celebrity and his own notoriety, he’s keenly self-aware of all these things. And it all came out in the music.”
Mr. Brambilla said that he generally avoids collaborations, but that when Mr. West contacted him through his gallery he could see how they might find common ground. “Because my work’s always been about alienation and seduction and the way contemporary cultures desensitize people,” Mr. Brambilla said. With a sardonic chuckle, he said of Mr. West, “And he’s experienced it firsthand.” Mr. Brambilla said the project — which he preferred to describe as a “video work that’s been commissioned by Kanye to accompany the music” rather than a music video — was his and Mr. West’s attempt to answer the question, “How do you visually paint a portrait of power?”
“It’s a moment of transition for him,” Mr. Brambilla said. “It’s like the end of an empire. It’s him becoming mortal again.” Among the visual influences that Mr. Brambilla said he discussed with Mr. West were Philippe Halsman’s portrait “Dalí Atomicus,” which depicts a suspended midair Dalí, splashing water and leaping cats; and Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.
(Not that Mr. West is supposed to be either Adam or God, Mr. Brambilla explained. “It’s not exactly the content, but it is the interpretation of the style,” he said. “He’s like a fallen icon.”)
The video is planned to be posted on Mr. West’s Web site sometime next week, Mr. Brambilla said, and will be provided to MTV and other music channels (though its content will probably make it difficult for some of the channels to show it).
Mr. Brambilla said he hoped viewers of his “Power” video would see the humor in it. “It’s a very exaggerated, hyper-sensational version of what the song is saying,” he said. “But at the same time,” he added, “it has this fallibility to it. Because built into the story is that there is an ultimate fallibility, in bringing someone back down to earth at the end of the piece. That kind of contradiction, hopefully, will create the tension within it.”
And if it kicks up more controversy, as Mr. West’s artistic efforts often do, Mr. Brambilla was comfortable with that. “I like controversy,” Mr. Brambilla said. “The more controversial it gets, the more interesting it is.”