Full Circle – In Defence of Blatant Imagery
Obnoxious visual queues are one of the most obvious signs of a lack of creativity. Subtlety is an art that needs to be mastered in creating visual work as there is a world of difference between guiding the audience through your work and shoving their face it in. Cutting to images of what a song is describing in its lyrics can be detrimental to the success of, and ones immersion in, a music video. This music video however did not do that for me. The entire music video is set up to feel like one continuous shot and spins around a circular track for almost the entire duration. We are constantly being taken full circle as the lyrics wash over time and time again “Girl you’ve come full circle, you’ve come full circle… Girl I’ve come full circle, I’ve come full circle”. This is about as obnoxiously obvious as you can get and, to top it off we are introduced to the tracking set up at the beginning of the music video it coming back into shot periodically to remind us of its existence. Between 2.30 and 2.40 there is even a mirror shot in which we see the crew manning the camera. The ballerina has moved out of frame so there is no mistaking that they are the focus of that portion of the shot. Never are we supposed to forget that we are spinning and yet instead of feeling forced and unimaginative it manages to be uniquely profound. The images are intriguing and the constant motion jarring. We get a sense that we cannot stop, and neither can they. They use the presence of the equipment to trap the scene, setting it closer to a theatrical stage performance than one made for screen. The universe has been bound and there is a unique sense that this is the sum extent of the universe.
The production reminded me strikingly of the theatrical production of Jasper Jones. Theatrical sets are an art and for the play they set up the town as a single rotating element in the middle of the stage. Rather than the characters moving around the stage, the stage moved around them and the concept so beautifully captured the cramped inescapable feeling of small country towns whilst also having a practical application of overcoming the limitations of a stage setting. Whilst the two rotating environments work almost in opposition, one creating space and the other confining it, they both create a novel way for the audience to see characters interact and a beautiful visual definition of their relationship the the greater landscape. the stage production of Jasper Jones inspired the sense that Jasper was trapped the rotation inspiring the image of a hamster wheel, an amazing visual adaptation of a major theme in the original novel.
I think that the effect the track has is that of a lack of pretence. The footage feels raw and alive due to the fact that its producers hold no qualms about making themselves known. Theres a stifling realness and I think that comes from the fact that their connection with the lyrics doesn’t feel like a creative copout. The video is intricate, layered and full of details. It begs to be watched at least 3 or 4 times for you to pick up all its intricacies and that frees it from being categorised as lazy producing. Both productions work to visually reimagine words (lyrics on one hand and literature on the other) and whilst Full Circle takes the most obvious piece of imagery it accepts its and develops it, making it the world in which all other elements exist. I absolutely adore this music video. It is a visual masterpiece and its theming is a stroke of genius. The video has proved to me that perhaps there is such thing as intricacy within the obvious and blatant imagery may have some merit if used to the right effect.