The music video for the song Sketch Artist by Kim Gordon is one that may lead to hundreds of homework in cultural studies. It qualifies itself for a more detailed analysis, because it is beautiful and dark and danceable urban, and because it just plays around with meaning. The German artist Loretta Fahrenholz shot it in Los Angeles. In three minutes and 44 seconds, the two months ago released music film condenses much of what the musician Kim Gordon revolves around. We see Gordon, once co-founder of Sonic Youth's Noise Organizing Group and Queen of the New York Cool, sitting in the head of a black, hybrid-powered car with a prominently painted and illuminated eye area. A similarly made guest enters the back, probably a man in drag. At the same time, a boy takes his place in a suit jacket that is too large, and so does he in disguise. Palm trees line the street, then off to the night. On the driver's mobile the street map and a company logo flashes: "Below". Well, where is this trip going? A short detour helps understanding.
At the age of 66, Kim Gordon releases her first solo album called No Home Record . The reference hell is already hot, because the title quotes No Home Movie of 2015, the last film that was shot by the Belgian director Chantal Akerman, about her mother, who had survived Auschwitz. A few months after the premiere, Akerman took his own life. It's only rock and roll? Phew, Kim Gordon is really not afraid of the dark (and comparisons that would be difficult in Germany).
No home record can mean two things beyond the movie reference: not done at home - or an album about the absence of a home. The producer is Justin Raisen, who has produced slower, more mysterious sound boxes for Charli XCX's noisy electric boards or Yves Tumor, among others. Kim Gordon sounds to him like a newly electronic noise priestess, the sounds of her noise guitar topping it as topping. The production is professional, that did not happen in the garage.
Back to California, to the underworld
No Home : Existential Homelessness is the general theme in Gordon's work. Less pathetic can hardly say that. As a Californian middle-class child in the fucked up New York artist bohemian from the late seventies, alienating as a woman in the long relatively unsuccessful rock band Sonic Youth, as a long-time relatively unsuccessful visual artist, the bassist and singer just from Sonic Youth in the nineties at once the reference point for many younger musicians became: The band was suddenly considered the slightly older sibling of grunge and flew now with Nirvana and REM around the world. At some point it must have felt strange to Gordon as a mother in this whole circus. She returned to California a while ago, in the Sketch Artist video, into a strange present-day future by which she controls the "sub" car. A happy coming home looks different.
Anyone who has seen everything, the East and the West, can reach for the stars and hope that she or he will find more there than the father like Brad Pitt currently in Ad Astra . This is the common Californian strategy: explore space as an interior space as a playground for therapeutic steps. Or you go down. With the car service called "Unter", which is much more in the video for Sketch Artist than a Kalauer on the taxi service Uber. The video is a journey into the underworld as in Orpheus and Eurydice in Greek mythology. Orpheus, who invented the music, is Kim Gordon. Modesty is not American or Gordon's virtue.
Orpheus goes into the underworld, but must not turn to his wife Eurydice, because then his eyes kill them. Gordon curves through the aboveground underworld of Los Angeles, and chic dancers are fatally struck by their gaze, the dead stare . It is the male gaze Gordon so often recounts in her autobiography Girl in a Band , published in 2015: the gaze wiping out the individual by doing the object. As a musician in a band of boys, Gordon always wanted to be part of this gaze economy in order to turn the male gaze over. That's what she does in this video. But much more.
If you close your eyes and just listen, Sketch Artist is probably a tribute to the artist died in 2012 Mike Kelley, Gordon was friends with. Gordon's lyrics have always been Pop Art, a collage of the found, the personal, the cut; Gordon avoids lyrical craft. The " wind chimes " that are talked about and that proclaim the sound of death are pretty sure the many wind chimes in Mike Kelley's work, which often charged children's toys with eeriness. Like the wool rabbit, which was seen on the cover of Dirty , the seventh album by Sonic Youth from the year 1992. Gordon hisses in Sketch Artist with her gusty voice, the tonality only " You are a mystery, like a horse " allows in pain and betrays the slightly hanging lower jaw of the Californian accent. " Like a horse " toy horses played a big role in Kelley's late work.
Rock and roll as a crossword puzzle with a focus on late 20th-century art: one can not shake the feeling when listening to No Home Record that the homelessness also stems from the fact that a world has actually perished. It is the New York of the eighties, the eternal capital of art of the 20th century, where music and art flourished in the dark in the structurally weak southern city center. Until the scene detonated. Larry Gargosian as the most powerful gallerist in the world, Madonna in Pop (almost all the artist friends that Gordon likes to quote in her book and covertly on the album): These people have become really rich and have been living for a long time in the glaring light of the global art market. And yes, even Sonic Youth did it sometime, financially not quite as equipped as the artist friends, but with huge cultural capital. Gordon's current home, which she bought back in Los Angeles, can be seen on the internet from the inside ( Variety before buying, and the New York Times was allowed in).