Aphex Twin – Windowlicker
By Daniel Moreno
Chris Cunningham directed in 1999 Aphex Twins' music video 'Windowlicker'. The ten-minute long short film takes up stereotypes of Gangsta hip-hop videos and exaggerates them to a point that it makes fun of most of the music videos of the genre during the 90's.
The plot consists of a nearly four-minute introduction, in which two young men try their luck on two young prostitutes. In that time, one of the men, an African American, the other one is a Latino, uses profanity excessively; first, in his monologue while talking to his Latino friend during the car ride scene and, second, when he tries to "persuade" the two young women.
The intro ends abruptly with the crash of an endless seeming white limousine into car of the male protagonists, a black Mazda Miata NA convertible. After that, Aphex Twin aka Richard D. James steps out of the limousine and shows off with his dancing skills to bewitch the females. Meanwhile, the women's faces morph becoming similar to Richard's face, and they join him in his limousine heading to the beach. The two men follow the limousine to the beach, trying to make the women change their minds.
In his video, Cunningham uses corporate identity, morphing, and exaggeration as main features for emphasis. Corporate identity is presented right from the beginning of the music video by showing the Aphex Twin's icon which can be also seen on the umbrellas later on in the short film. Another display of corporate identity the usage of James's face on all female characters. Even on the 'Windowlicker ' EP shows a female body with James's morphed face grinning.
Morphing is used as part of corporate identity, as all females become similar to James's. Morphing is also used for terrifying in a scary way, which illustrates a tremendously ugly woman with a buck-toothed, deformed face. Morphing is also used as an eye catcher to draw attention from the body to the face, as it is hard for viewers to ignore the women's faces in the video, even if most women wear bikinis.
Exaggeration is the third feature exhibited in the music video through the oversexed atmosphere; the usage of 127 uses of profanity, 44 of which are f*** word, symbolic usage of an umbrella and a Champaign bottle as genitalia. The Stereotypes of African Americans in hip-hop music videos are 'over' portrayed to an extend of radicalization. Exaggeration is also used via cinematography; long shots and slow-motion are frequently used in the limousine scene or in the booty- shake scene.