We consume images at an ever faster rate and, as Balzac suspected cameras used up layers of the body, images consume reality. Cameras are the antidote and the disease, a means of appropriating reality and a means of making it obsolete. – Susan Sontag, On Photography
A few days ago I watched Lana Del Rey’s SNL performance for which she was widely panned for being “boring,” “cringeworthy,” and “stilted,” among other things. Lana Del Rey, for those who don’t know, became an internet sensation last summer after releasing two music videos (“Video Games” and “Blue Jeans“). Those videos enticed viewers with an artist whose voice was inviting, but whose pose was perfected to the point of discomfort. It’s an image that works extraordinarily well in the lab (or a music video), but falls flat in the real world. Watch the SNL performance and you’ll see nervous hands, aimless eyes, mindless swaying–visible cracks on her perfect facade. We want our artists to perform; we just don’t want to know they’re performing.
At the same time I was watching Lana, I was in the middle of Jennifer Egan’s 2001 novel, Look At Me. Read the rest of this entry »