Skip to main content

Director of Kanye’s “Power” Music Video Created a Elevator That Travels From Hell to Heaven

There’s got to be a reason why Kanye West so wanted to specifically order Persian rugs with cherub imagery, and that reason may just be the director of his newest music video, Marco Brambilla. “Power,” most recently and fittingly used in a trailer for The Social Network, was released yesterday as a controversially heaven-themed music video. Yet no one can deny the video’s–or as Kanye calls it, the “painting’s”–visual spectacle: King Kanye stands tall in the center of a heavenly tableau, a golden statue of the Egyptian god Horus slung around his neck, and the camera slowly pulls back to reveal an orgy of female “angels.” Needless to say, wet toga contest ensues.

But never mind this “highly constructed, highly mannered, somewhat religious” blah-blah “tableau that communicates the end of an empire,” as Brambilla–who also directed the 1993 sci-fi film Demolition Man–describes. We’ve discovered Brambilla’s infinitely superior video project, “Civilization,” a mindboggling, epically scaled series of Boschian tableaus which depict heaven and hell – in the elevators of New York’s Standard Hotel. Whereas “Power” is a statement of individual egomania, “Civilization” tells us that our whole society’s to blame! Imagine heading downstairs to a grueling day of work, only to be reminded of fiery doom and impending death.

Marvel at short video, commissioned in 2008, below.

Comprised of a carnivalesque pastiche of over 400 video clips depicting labor, sex, religious worship, war, industry, and technological addiction, “Civilization” plays on a high-definition monitor seen through a viewing port in the hotel elevators.

As extra-credit viewing, Kanye’s “Power” music video and the behind-the-scenes video (warning, NSFWish):

(h/t New York Magazine)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: