the details scream over-privileged teen aristocracy, the jamaican-flag knits & houndstooth nails. everyone needs some low-culture kitsch in their closet; if you’re under 25 & “legit” you have to have it.
“POP MUSIC WILL NEVER BE LOWBROW”
pop music makes its own language & the language is made of refrains. the repetition of the hook which is a mask all monsters wear is a loop of constant passwords. if the passwords do not unlock value that is to say style or worth then the password is of little consequence and is repeated endlessly (see: rebecca black’s FRIDAY or The Black Eyed Peas’ I GOTTA FEELING).
In the original video version of FRIDAY, the illusion of style is chemically reproduced; the image is screenprinted in toxic ink, the inhabitants of the video are uncannily animated mannequins produced by the same kinds of machines that produce pop with a high production-value. because the economy of pop music is dictated by either cost or exclusivity, rebecca black’s video has a low production-value because its language is not exclusive and its materials are not costly.
In this hipster cover of FRIDAY, the password does not acquire its referent-value by means of repetition, but by its imitation of an exclusivity that acquires its value via a semantic disjunction. the components of the image projected in this video have randomly assigned values, and the viewer must work harder to establish objective correlative indicated by the combination of coke-bottle glasses, tie-dye, harmonica descants, college sweatshirts, tween-girl pop lyrics, etc.
Contrast these with THE FAME PART ONE, in which the password, or refrain, is not repeatedly endlessly – it is not even complete. A constant loop of pop creates a language that is minor and exclusive and therefore raises its value. The language can exist because it steals from itself, makes a hinge of its own parts.
EITHER A MINOR LANGUAGE CONNECTS TO MINOR ISSUES, THEREBY PRODUCING PARTICULAR RESULTS, OR IT REMAINS ISOLATED, VEGETATES, TURNS BACK ON ITSELF AND PRODUCES NOTHING
“I do not think that is an elitist attitude” [i]
THE POWER-VALUE OF GAGA is imitation, intimidation. the fashion is a repetition of the antithesis of such, such that the imitators become the gods themselves, the paradigm like a virus rather than a symptom. in this way, gaga’s power, which is desire (defined by the fact that her acolytes wear her style like masks), infects her public with military tactics. she demands that they comply they acquiesce it’s their desire to be loved by their object, so they make of their bodies, idols.
IDOLATRY IS AN ESCAPE FROM FORMAL REDUNDANCY
the repetition of a system : ESCAPES FROM POWER FORMATIONS. DESIRE IS NOT INFORMED, INFORMING; IT IS NOT INFORMATION OR CONTENT. in which case is the system by which the same is conveyed – form rather than information, the matrix which defines a quality of GAGA-NESS, into which a given agent might input the components allowed by their own economy and press it through the mesh. the result is a disposable fabric which can be mass-produced, becomes weaker with every wear, shifts the status of desirability of the wearer from a concentrated fabric with a high production-value to one which has been stretched to a level of transparency due to a scarcity of luxurious resources; or, DESIRE IS NOT SOMETHING THAT DEFORMS BUT THAT DISCONNECTS, CHANGES, MODIFIES, ORGANIZES OTHER FORMS, AND THEN ABANDONS THEM[ii] –
or, fashion is a collective constant present: In The Fashion System, Barthes says that Fashion Time is “festival time,” that “festivity is tyrannical, it conquers time” (Barthes, 250). Fashion Time is time and its afterlife, the moment of the outfit & its temporal death, an undeath that endlessly cycles through the collective consciousness as Fashion continues to infect itself with a constant rebirth. Fashion Time is of and outside of time but never in Time.[iii]
time in THE FAME is a fantasy of form. the action of being fashionable is urgent; there is an object of some value that must be acquired immediately. there is a sale – this implies rarity, as this particular value is only available for a limited amount of time. to turn value into an object is to commodify the insubstantial substance à STYLE.
the value of the individual song is cut so the value becomes the conglomerate, the collective. the soundtrack changes songs like outfits. every hook is on sale there is a small tear of entrance. the tear is a needle-hole, or a lesion, which allows the contamination of the body by the drug machine.
teenagers ripping apart sales GIVE ME MY DISCOSTICK just dance wearing sunglasses breaking glass with glittery scepters and taking taking taking and wearing black and finding the one thing they want which has value only because they want it; or,
TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY is I WANT THAT machine.
“We must begin by enlarging the definition of drugs” (Felix Guattari, MACHINIC JUNKIES).
we must acknowledge FASHION-AS-DRUG. we must look to the origin of the term HEROIN-CHIC, in which the body that seeks to imitate purity of form for the sake of fashion must suffer by entering into the physical language of fashion, which requires a salve, a rupture of “reality,” an injection :
everything that contributes to provide a sensation of belonging to something, of being somewhere, along with the sensation of forgetting oneself, are ‘drugs’[iv]
what is the value of the sick life, or the life of the sickness, the natural development of disease?
the fashion junkie, the heroin-chic, the organless body, the anoretic, the reverent. these things have value they are LIMITEDTIMEONLY! this is because they are going to die, soon. their extremity, their excessive withholding of “nutrition” in favor of “luxury”, is fatal. the fact that it is fatal is part of its appeal. a drug can kill you; that’s why it’s fun. we want to be saved, we want absolution, we want to die.
“this ‘medicine,’ this philter, which acts as both remedy and poison, already introduces itself into the body of the discourse with all its ambivalence”[v]
the teenagers take to the streets they are starving. they take bites of things with value they spit it out they taste like poison. the ultimate fame is adoring degradation.
the rush of glitter-vomit is a drug. it feels good to be watched, adored, sacrificed. the point is to adore oneself to the point of destruction. the point is an absolute quality of vanity. to love the imitation so much so it’s ”true”. to lose oneself in the materials of oneself, to be constantly breaking, combusting, on purpose. to keep making ruptures, to keep reinventing, to keep up with the economy one must constantly be emptying. becoming-nothing is style; fashion is waste. the wasteless are the totally wasted, they break.
THE RESIDUAL CRYSTALS THAT CONSTITUTE MACHINIC DOPE CAN PENETRATE THE ENTIRE PLANET, REANIMATE AND RELAUNCH IT[vi]
in order to be reborn one must die. there has to be an ultimate excess; the body must first be emptied, then filled, then emptied and filled again, must be pressed & pressed many times through the mesh of reality to become unreal, to transcend the organic, to achieve fame – to not need. to exist in a constant revolution-state of teen which has value because it is always-rare; or, the becoming-body is always limited-edition.
inside of the temporality of fame time is malleable, shifts, condensed and stretches, is defined by a quantity of light; or, glitter. the light burns holes in the fabric, makes lesions, or sites of affliction, harbors for drugs. the need of the constant-present is continuous destruction, never-ending consumption of the materials of construction. there has to be a loop. there has to be a digesting, a regression. one gets a bit obsessed with the process of crafting the body such that value is a goal rather than an assignation, an alienated, all-encompassing sign with no signification other than fame.
in this case, fame forms an absolute-zero, attainable only when the subject has transcended substance, become a specter of reflection, smashed glitter, vain annihilation.
[i] Felix Guattari, Soft Subversions: I AM AN IDEA THIEF p. 21
[ii] Some of the above CAPITALISED text is from Guattari, Soft Subversions: The Adolescent Revolution, p. 156
[iii] The italicized text is from my talk, THE COLLECTIVE FASHION CONSCIOUSNESS, presented at the IU Collections and Collaborations Conference in Spring 2010 . The full text is linked here: http://ladyblogblah.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/the-collective-consciousness-look-at-my-outfit-we%E2%80%99re-at-war/
[iv] Guattari, Machinic Junkies, p. 158
[v] Derrida, “Dissemination,” p.1845
[vi] Guattari, Soft Subversions: Machinic Junkies p. 161
Carina Finn is an MFA student at the University of Notre Dame. Her chapbook, I HEART MARLON BRANDO, was recently released by Wheelchair Party, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in SUPERMACHINE, TYPO, boo!, Alice Blue, CutBank, Seven Corners, and elsewhere. She has won two Academy of American Poets prizes and been nominated for a Pushcart. Her plays have been performed at Notre Dame and The Bowery Poetry Club.
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