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Kissane 1 Thomas Kissane 8/30/07 Com320- Melba Veléz Critical Analysis II: Bjork’s Music Video for “All is Full of Love”

Nine years ago, Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and murdered in a small Wyoming town. Why was he killed? He was killed simply because of his sexual orientation. At his funeral religious protesters held signs bearing the words, “God Hates Fags.” In today’s society, homophobia and hate crimes continue to exist. On a global level, homosexuality is frequently scrutinized as unnatural and punishable by death. In the music video “All Is Full of Love,” Bjork forces viewers to question their preconceived notions on homosexuality and encourages society to be more tolerant and accepting. By using the five steps of the critical analysis process (Description, Analysis, Interpretation, Evaluation, and Engagement), viewers can understand why this video is an effective media product. Description: The object under critical analysis is a music video for Bjork’s song entitled “All is Full of Love.” The video is four minutes and nine seconds long. It is directed by a postmodern artist name Chris Cunningham. The song was written by Bjork. The video was originally released in June of 1990, however, the video was critically analyzed via youtube. The Lyrics to “All is Full of Love”: “You'll be given love You’ll be taken care of You’ll be given love You have to trust it Maybe not from the sources You have poured yours

Kissane 2 Maybe not from the directions You are staring at Trust your head around It’s all around you All is full of love All around you All is full of love: you just ain't receiving All is full of love: your phone is off the hook All is full of love: your doors are all shut All is full of love” The two distinct instruments used in the song are mechanical noises and a harp. The video begins by leading the viewer up a collection of cables and wires. The cables are grouped together. The camera then leads the viewer through a tunnel to a bright, fluorescent room where a robot is lying in the fetal position atop a white surgical table. The setting is extremely bright. The camera zooms in to give a full profile of the robot’s feminine features. Her skin is porcelain, white and her face has human features such as lips and eyes. The robot’s mechanics are visible within the cracks between her skin. The robot eventually opens her eyes revealing a vibrant blue color. The robot begins to sing the lyrics of the song. The robot sings the line “all is full of love” while lying in this fetal position. It is in this position that two robotic arms appear to be performing surgery on her. The arms strangely resemble microscopes or telescopes. At forty seconds, the camera angle captures a side profile of the robot. This view clearly shows the dominant female features of the robot. The robot has breasts and feminine curves. Throughout the video

Kissane 3 that robot arms rotate and spin against the female robot. At fifty four seconds, one of the robotic arms is inserted into the skull of the robots head. At this moment, the robots eyes meet the camera and she sings, “You’ll have to trust it.” The camera then transitions to an extreme close up of a pen shaped pistol being inserted into the robot. At 59 seconds, the camera a wand grazing over the midsection of the robot. The wand appears to collecting water from the robot. At one minute, a golden orange color wipes across the screen and brings a new image of the female robot sitting in an upright position on the surgical table facing the camera. However, her head is tilted down solemnly to her side. The robot’s body is clearly defined from this angle. The robot’s stomach has a belly button and the genital area between the robot’s legs appear to be a square shape and jet-black Color. This angle also shows more clearly the robots that are working on her. They look like arms on both of her sides, encasing her. The robot’s arms are bulky and hunchbacked. They resemble honeybees busy at work screwing bolts into the female robot. At one minute and three seconds, the video shows sparks for the first time. These sparks ignite from the arms of the robots and fall to the ground like rain. The camera transitions to another view to emphasize the falling sparks. The camera angle overhead shows the sticks of the robot arms poking and prodding the female robot. Two sticks are inserted into her head and one into her side. At one minute and eighteen seconds, the camera explicitly shows the backside of the female robots head. It is flipped open like a trap door. The large mechanical arms are fusing the inside of her brain. Sparks fly from her skull. The camera moves to an extreme close up of the female robot’s face. He entire face fills the screen. The surface of the robot’s face is smooth and milky white. He eyes are avoiding contact with the camera and are glancing to the side. At one minute and twenty three seconds the

Kissane 4 camera returns to the back of the robot’s skull. At this moment the lyrics “trust your head” are sung. The camera zooms to an extreme close up of a black cable cord with a golden tip inserted in the robot’s head. The cable shoots sparks that fly across the floor. The image of the back of the robot’s skull is returned to once again. Except this time the camera shows the brains of the robot. Inside the skull is a rectangle, black box resembling a tape recorder. The box has a red light that blinks on and the robot’s eyes immediately sway from side to side. Between 1:35 and 1:37 the entire face of the robot is framed. The robot avoids eye contact with the camera and casts glances from side to side. The camera then cuts to an image of a pool of white colored liquid that appears to evaporating. The water evaporates into the cracks of the female robot. At 1:42, the camera takes an overhead angle of the robot sitting on the table being constructed by the mechanical arms. The robot’s face is angled up at the camera, however, upon careful inspection her eyes are glancing behind the camera. At 1:44 the camera reveals that the robot was looking at another female robot that was standing behind the camera. The female robots are completely identical. The arms that are working on the sitting robot quickly move out of the view of the camera. At 1:47, the camera cuts to the standing female robot singing the back of vocals “all is full of love” and warmly reaches her hand to the sitting robot. This scene is interrupted by an image of a pool of liquid evaporation into the robot’s genital area. The robot’s genital area is no longer a jet-black color but is porcelain like the rest of her body. At 2:02 the camera captures the standing robot taking the sitting robots hand. The robots are both singing the lyrics to the song during this scene. The standing robot sings the backup locals while the sitting robot sings the lead chorus. At 2:10 the camera frame is filled with a brilliant light and cuts to a frame of the two robots facing each other

Kissane 5 in a kneeling position on the surgical table. The robots are passionately kissing one another. While they are making out, the two mechanical robot arms continue to work on the robots. At 2:28 the lighting begins to dim and cloak the robots. At 2:33 the entire screen in black. Then it brightens with the image of a mechanical pistol pumping and evaporating a liquid. The lights continue to flick in the background. At 2:51 the camera captures the female robots gazing into each other’s eyes while holding one another. They continue to kiss while the mechanical arms work on them. At 3:16 the camera zooms out and frames the love scene in a bright rectangular box. This angle shows the mechanics of the machines working on the female robots. At 3:19 the camera descends down from this angle into darkness. There are flashes of light that show the same cable tunnel that lead to this setting. The music fades and the video ends at 4:09. Analysis: A close look at this video reveals two major reoccurring themes: that love is boundless and innocent. Primarily, the music video uses the robots to illustrate these themes. The video creates an ideology that love is a powerful force that cannot be limited or restricted. The director uses camera angles to capture the feminine features of the robots. This is done to emphasize that love transcends gender and sexual orientation. The director shows the brain of the robot with a red light. This light indicates that the robots are hardwired to think this way. It makes their actions natural and deliberate. Furthermore, the camera emphasizes the mechanics behind the robot’s skin. The director does this to encourage people to look beyond the shell of a person and into their core. At the core, everyone is the same. Secondly, the construction process is another reoccurring symbol that illustrates love’s innocence. The camera captures how intricately the robots are designed. The

Kissane 6 mechanical arms gracefully move about working on the robot as she lies on the white table. Thus, the director is alluding to the belief that humans are delicately designed in the same way. Furthermore, the arms constructing the female robots resemble microscopes. This further symbolizes the concept of precision in human creation. There are no flaws in the realm of love. They are meant to love this way. The director uses extreme close ups of motorized objects like the pistons to emphasize the construction process. By showing the construction of these robots the director eliminates the ‘us’ and ‘them’ factor from a discussion on homosexuality Another symbol the director uses to illustrate the theme of innocence is the use of white colors and the robot’s positioning. Primarily, the white colors incorporated in the video add a heaven-like quality to its setting. The harps in the song are reminiscent of angels playing the instruments in heaven. The arms of the robots constructing the female robots resemble the hands of God. Secondly, the director uses the brilliant colors to illustrate the innocence of the robots’ love. The fluorescent and milky white colors represent the purity and the honesty of their love. The female robot’s brilliant blue eyes and inability to look into the camera indicate her innocence. Thirdly, the director uses the robot’s fetal position on the surgical table to suggest that the robot is “born” to love this way. The lyrics recommend that she has “to trust it.” Interpretation: Why is it meaningful that Bjork’s music video positively depicts homosexuality as natural? One reason could be that the video discourages homophobia and intolerance. Homosexuals are often misrepresented or pigeonholed into limiting stereotypes. Mainstream media often portrays homosexuals as vain and hedonistic. Bjork’s video discourages these misconceptions. Instead the video demonstrates that

Kissane 7 homosexuals are created under the same circumstances as heterosexual couples. She presents the idea that love as a beautiful force that is not limited to specific sexual orientations. Her positive depiction of homosexuality could potential transform many intolerant perceptions. Evaluation: This music video serves as a sufficient media source because it contributes to a democratic society. Primarily, Bjork’s video represents a group of individuals that are often discriminated against. Her video discourages people’s intolerance towards homosexuals. Bjork’s status as an international artist can potentially have a major influence on how homosexuality is perceived around the world. Secondly, she encourages viewers to examine complex and philosophical concepts. For example, she instigates the viewer to question the origins of love. Viewers are actively looking beyond their own lives. Engagement: A great way to engage myself in this issue would be to write a letter to Bjork. I could thank her for positively depicting homosexuality and explain the emotional impact the video had on me. Furthermore, I could join a gay organization on campus. This would enable me to become involved in the local community and work to improve the public’s views of homosexuals. All of these activities will strengthen my understanding of homosexuality and help create a more positive cultural environment.