What I’ve Got: Bamboozling the Audience in Chris Cunningham and Aphex Twin’s “WINDOWLICKER”

by post_author

As a huge music video buff (who has obsessively watched the old-school music video video collection discs of Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer, and David Fincher), I’ve always found WINDOWLICKER, a work by director Chris Cunningham and electronic recording artist Richard James (aka Aphex Twin), to be particularly fascinating (and haunting).

In an era where music videos arguably held more weight in pop culture than music itself (courtesy of the popularity of MTV), Cunningham and electronic artist James eschewed the traditional iconography of popular hip-hop videos (flashy cars, women dancing in bikinis, big bottles of Moët, etc.) and electronic music (DJs concealing their identities by donning masks) in favor of a truly disturbing and unique, self-reflexive commentary on the state of the medium itself. Cunningham and Aphex Twin specifically craft the video around two cat-calling men who are attempting to solicit sexual acts from women on the street. This goes on for nearly four minutes (the Aphex Twin song starts at the five minute mark), until the two men – fed up with their unsuccessful attempts – are greeted by a limousine filled of scantily clad women, all wearing Richard James’ static smiling face – popping bottles of champagne in slow-motion. 

This video – while not without its controversy – is, in my opinion, one of the most remarkable and subversive displays of two popular artists working very hard to disrupt their industry by parodying it. 

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