NAOMI PUNK X ROBIN STEIN | “television man”

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On their live KEXP set a few months back, Naomi Punk announced they’d be releasing a video for the title track of their incredible album “Television Man.”  Their friend Robin Stein, they said, would be directing.  All he had told them at that point about his vision was “mirrors.”

There are a lot of pretty boring things you can do with mirrors, and most of them have been done in music videos a million times over.  Artist playing in mirrored room, artist looking at self in mirror, mirrors used to reflect other shit, mirrors glued onto other shit.  The mirror is an evocative symbol, we all know this, we’ve all gotten the picture a million times.

Leave it to Naomi Punk to do something with mirrors completely outside the sphere of what you’re used to seeing.  Stein’s video features pink light rising and dropping across mirrors in an open pink space, moving in perfect time with the music.  With nothing tangible to reflect, the mirrors stop looking like objects unto themselves and become more like weird light effects with hard edges.  They are no longer objects for use – they are no longer even there.  The shapes created by their shadows become more physically present than the mirrors themselves.

Of course, four minutes of this would be boring without chemical assistance, so bodybuilders show up, sliced in half, spliced together, multiplied, divided, endlessly grotesque, endlessly awesome.  These funhouse projections would be fairly unremarkable if it weren’t for the bizarre way the bodybuilders are made into the freakishly desiccated performers of the song, their flexing timed beautifully to Naomi Punk’s appropriately muscular riffage.

I wish I had something insightful to say about this video, some level of commentary beyond simply how awesome it is.  I could probably talk about all the times Naomi Punk’s Travis Coster has talked about his interest in fucking with gender boundaries, and then the color pink in conjunction with muscular dudes.  It’d probably be relevant.  I could also probably link the distortion of the body to various Coster lyrics about self-mutilation and -immolation.  But sometimes an awesome video is enough.  I mean seriously, when was the last time someone totally changed an object for you?

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