Is the Meaning behind Elastic Heart: Art or Pedophilia
As you may or may not know, the music video for Sia’s latest single, “Elastic Heart” was released on the 7th of January 2015. There has been a lot of uproar about this video and has been heavily branded as inappropriate by certain members of society.
The controversial video shows two performers in a cage performing some type of contemporary dance to create a short story. The problem here is that both performers are dressed in nude coloured clothing; one a 12-year-old girl (Maddie Ziegler) and the other a fully grown man (Shia Labeouf).
Yes, you’ve probably guessed it. There are shouts that the video is representing or presenting some sort of pedophilia.
Truth be told, the video has nothing to do with the subject at all and is a beautiful form of art with great music, amazing singing, beautiful lyrics and an awe-inspiring performance from everybody involved in creating the video.
After watching the video several times today, before I even realised it had become a trending topic in the news feeds, I think I finally understand what the video portrays. Well this is my own personal interpretation anyhow.
MUSIC VIDEO ANALYSIS
This is the first time I’ve tried to analyse a music video but I feel the need to do so, just so people can understand the beauty and not write it off as inappropriate. So watch the video and read through what I see what it signifies.
The video starts off showing the young girl and grown man trapped in a cage inside a white room dressed in nude-coloured clothing.
This to me represents the mind of an individual with two personalities trapped inside. The cage represents confinement and the white room, closed off from the world, shows that it’s a private matter. There is no colour in the video and I think that represents that it’s a serious psychological matter as entire scene reminds me of a mental asylum.
The clothes of the performers are filthy and the two glare at each other panting hard as they encircle each other.
The filthy clothing can represent an ongoing struggle as it clearly seems the two have gone at it for a while and neither is willing to back down yet. The man also has a decent sized beard that has sprouted which also can mean a lot of time has elapsed inside this cage for him and his state is clearly one of distraught.
The male reluctantly steps forward to meet the wild girl and immediately steps back clutching his chest at where his heart should be whilst she makes an aggressive expression in his direction. A stand-off of various gestures occurs following this.
I believe this shows that it is the girl who is doing the challenging and the man seems a little afraid of the whole ordeal. Although he is trying to compete with the girl but he is unable to match her eccentric nature and ability.
The girl manages to scare the male into evading her but eventually she is able to take him by the arm and throw him against the cage. A fight ensues between them but it is the girl who is again in control and the man is at the receiving end of kicks and strikes. She is even able to mount his back and take him down to his knees.
I believe this represents the more dominant personalities that are trapped inside the cage and although one of them is trying to hold on, the other is able to provoke it into combat and forces its dominance upon it.
The man manages to climb to the top of the spherical cage and hang from the centre as the girl ends up falling to the ground below him. He jumps down eventually but is careful not to hurt the girl. He moves in close to her to inspect her but the girl springs back to life. He gives her his hand in a friendly gesture but she bites his finger.
This gesture was a bit confusing but it seems to me that through will-power, the personality that is represented by the man can stay clear from the danger that the eccentric young girl represents until she grows weary and falls asleep. He isn’t violent in nature and wants to get to know and understand the little girl.
The girl however isn’t willing to trust him and her wild nature attacks him despite the friendly gesture but this is not after she had drawn him into a false sense of security as she too allowed him to draw nearer and in a vulnerable position where he could get hurt.
This gets the personality of the man angry and he decides to fight back. The two compete on equal footing now and the man too shows that he can be dominant as he lifts her off her feet several times but she still manages to fight back. The man continues to chase her but is left astonished as the girl is able to escape through the cage due to her slim figure and he is left reeling in fury inside the cage.
They finally reveal the violent nature of the man and how he now isn’t willing to hold back any longer. Unfortunately for him, he finds out that hard way that he cannot leave the cage whilst the girl can and this in turn infuriates him even further and he falls into a feeling of true despair.
The girl watches him with an innocent but teasing smile as she taunts him. He shakes the cage in anger a few times but eventually slumps to a crouch. The girl walks back into the cage and handsprings on to his back so that he is holding her legs on his shoulders as she dangles freely upside-down.
This to me shows that he willing to accept the burden that he is trapped inside and the girl is willing to accept his gesture of friendship but on her own terms. The way he lifts her as he gets off the ground felt like he finally understood what it means to carry the responsibility of something worthwhile. It seemed like a whole new world had opened up to him.
The girl sits up on his shoulders and allows him to hold her hands before she swings around into his arms. She knocks his head a few times and his expression changes each time, ranging from fun, to angry and eventually all expression leaves his face as he seems to switch off. She watches him in thought for a moment before seemingly switching him on again as if she has reprogrammed him to her liking.
This marks the period of rehabilitation for the man as the girl accepts him and then goes through eradicating the problematic characteristics the personality of the man held.
She takes his hand and leads him toward the outside of the cage and although she can manage to escape, he is too large and is unable to despite his greatest efforts in leaving the cage with her. He holds onto her and stares at her in agony and despair whilst she stands there helplessly tugging at him. The man finally gives up as the realisation sinks in that there is no way for him to escape the cage now.
This was very emotional to see. Despite the two personalities settling their differences, the grown male personality is forever imprisoned inside the cage and only the girl is allowed to leave.
As you can see, this isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill music video. There is a very interesting and I believe worthwhile story in there that should be viewed by the world with an attempt to understanding it made.
Obviously like all forms of art it is open to interpretation but my overall view was that of two personalities that belong to artist. Whilst the older one is unconfident and has anger issues, it is still very compassionate and vulnerable. The younger personality is wild and creative and can take care of herself. She is independent and full-of-life but can also be difficult to handle due to her wild nature.
There was a struggle between the two personalities and although they have come to terms with each other, one remains trapped whilst the other is allowed to roam freely.
I think they both represent parts of the artist’s life. Although she has come to terms with her past and present self; the past must remain inside the cage despite how desperate her present self is for it to be a part of her future.
Do watch the video and decide whether it’s an abomination in the name of a music video or a remarkable piece of art.
[Reblogged from: http://sleepinggeeks.com ]
I believe the only reason why this is seen as inappropriate is the use of a male figure as an opposing personality trait. If a woman had been placed in the role, performing the exact same choreography, I doubt anyone would judge it in the same manner. Sia is bringing a bit more to the table than most. I find it refreshing.
I have to agree with you. I also think if pedophilia wasn’t as mainstream news as it is today, there wouldn’t have been an outcry. Say 15 years ago, there would be no problems with this video at all.
I see it as a art of beauty and greatly choreography showing the two separate personalities (caged vs. freed.) The song itself is wonderfully written by a visionary artist. (Sia.) Overall, the video is a masterpiece in my opinion.
It’s nice to see that people can still appreciate art in today’s day and age.
I LOVED YOUR POST 🙂
WHAT AN AMAZING INTERPRETATION 🙂
I find your analysis great! Congratulations. Definitely a Masterpiece. Great song. Great art concept. Just mind blowing.
It happened the same to me, I had to watch it several times for it to capture my attention and to win me over. I was just working and not paying attention to it, just listening to the great music. I came to realize the video was not very conventional and payed more attention. It blew my mind.
I only respectfully disagree in the last part of your analysis: The man (old personality) IS ABLE to leave the cage phisically if he wants, but he can not because he is older and the structures are cristalized in him and he does not have such freedom as the young personality does to brake structures or patterns. If he wanted he could, but perhaps out of fear or insecurity, he does not dare to leave the cage.
That makes sense. It could be that it is a psychological issue that keeps him binded to the cage. For some reason I felt of he truly tried harder and was more confident about it, perhaps he could squeeze through.
I agree completely with the interpretation of this song (which, as with all of Sia’s music, is amazing). Maybe the little girl represents the innocence in the artist, fighting to protect and retain that part of one’s self that is child like and pure. In contrast, the older man is the addictions, bad choices and hard issues that befall us in life whether by our own doing or from sources beyond our control. The “child/innocent” side fights to keep the “adult/harsh” side from taking over even though the child side may have to resort to harsh actions in a struggle to protect itself. On the flip side, I see the adult side desperately trying to find its way back to that pure child side. Ultimately, they connect but in the end it may have been too late.
That is actually pretty good. Thoughtful insight to it. I like the concept of the adult side trying to find its way back to the pure child it used to be but is unable to leave with it, although it has connected.