Dum Dum Girls have the destinction of making me tolerate a Smiths song. I had no idea that “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” was the work of Morrissey and with Dee Dee singing, I can actually stomach it. Anyway, their video for last year’s slow motion stomp “Coming Down” pairs the mournful song with a stark black & white clip featuring an scissor wielding audience.
Take a look at the video’s direct influence: Yoko Ono’s 1965 performance entitled Cut Piece:
Please ignore the music on the youtube video, I’m fairly certain it’s not authentic. As part of Ono’s involvement in the 60’s performance art group Fluxus, she held this audience involvement piece in both Tokyo and then London. Those in attendance were given scissors and instructed to cut away her clothing until naked. The staging and concept are directly translated into the video for “Coming Down”.
Echoes of this performance can be seen in Marina Abramović’s 1974 performance piece Rhythm 0, which gave the audience a much wider range of tools and a more intimidating leeway to do whatever they pleased.
Regardless of influence, it’s always great to see the threads of video & performance art bubbling up in contemporary music videos.