St. Vincent's 'Los Ageless' video is uncanny and bizarre

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 4:39pm



St. Vincent is an artist who consistently transforms and improves her own shtick. Her abstract aesthetic influences are many, and she’s proven time and time again that the fusion of visual art and music can be successful. Her dialogues on modern womanhood and the pressures of contemporary society are uniquely translated into videos that echo and enhance reality.

This is especially true of her latest video for “Los Ageless,” a satire on the state of LA life. Through a series of monochromatic settings, St. Vincent creates a cohesive picture of the predictable phasing of a world where no one ages; no one even changes at all. The artificiality of each scene is clear and purposeful, evoking the plastic interactions commonplace within a society of false pretenses. Director Willo Perron, whom Vincent worked with on another iconic video, “Digital Witness,” walks the line between kitsch and class with these windows into another world, progressing between Irving Penn-esque visions of beauty regimen to emphasize the fakeness of LA perfection. As the video goes on, Vincent repeats, “How could anybody love you? / How could anybody love you and lose you?” in varying positions, and the veil of idealism is lifted from each scene. The situations Vincent finds herself in become increasingly strange; green goop climbs up the legs of women getting pedicures, a bandaged Vincent goes under another operation and hors d’oeuvres writhe on top of perfectly shaped crackers. The video uses the cultural connotations of “La La Land” to play with stereotypes in an experimental and fun manner, while chock-full of artistic nods to absurdist films, like the plastic-surgery stretching of Vincent’s face — a reference to Terry Gilliam’s 1985 dystopian film “Brazil.”

The audience is enveloped by the capsule environment that Perron and Vincent have created, engaged in and even a little disgusted by the hyperbolic side-effects of beauty. The uncanny-valley style that the team began with “Digital Witness” is taken to another place, but with a more concrete concept and thesis. The world of “Los Ageless” is enthralling and strange and spikes a curiosity that makes the viewer want to watch over and over. Each scene in the video is perfectly curated and matched to its musical counterpart, and progresses from the bizarre to the unsettling in a masterly organized series of situations. As Vincent lifts one of the alien hors d’oeuvres to her lips in the final shot of the video, one asks themselves, “What did I just watch?” The answer: A work that fuses music and visual art into one medium, expertly and entertainingly.