The Blood-Filled Egg: Rihanna vs. Wojnarowicz

by on Dec.03, 2010

“Sometimes I get seized by a discrete sensation, something like a small madness where the senses reel, behind the eyes. In the midst of crowds or in immense landscapes where the sense of sky is almost deafening, great big cracks in the earth like dusty photographs of lightning. I carry silence like a blood-filled egg, ready to drop it into someone’s hands.”

–DW, Being Queer in America: A Journal of Disintegration

8 comments for this entry:
  1. Joyelle McSweeney

    This is a really interesting video– I wonder what the difference is between the visual icon of Rhianna and hte visual icon of DW– in her case she’s so intact, often smiling so happily in the midst of these bizarre landscapes and tableaux– and it’s not an absent smile but a smile that is a medium, that reveals teeth, and that wants to cast a kind of happiness from the teeth. DW by contrast (in ‘Fire in my Belly’) is always partial, never ‘intact’, missing his head or a coherant overview of the body, meshed into the tableau. I don’t think you could say that the bodies in DW could be removed from the montage– they are being sliced, diced, lit on fire, danced around, literally stitched into it. R. seems more like an avatar, a brand, or a barcode– it can float from setting to setting, is never disabled, and always ‘means’ the same thing– click to buy. Which still makes her an interface/medium… but for money…

  2. Lucas

    Yes, I like this distinction you make, DW’s disintegration being so fundamental. I also like thinking about Rihanna’s video as an unconscious refraction of DW’s landscape. The pieces of the mirror were put back together, we have a “whole” smiling sex object, but there are still cracks around her. The image is burning and gushing blood a la one of DW’s very titles (Brushfire in the Social Landscape). There is only “one girl” left in the world. Even her “boy” is invisible, or perhaps we are his stand-in. When we get to the chorus the girl screams over disco beats, straining her voice to be heard. I think she knows there is nothing sadder than an empty dance floor.

  3. Joyelle McSweeney

    I’ve been looking at DW’s Rimbaud book today and thinking about the slimness of the mask, the slimness of the (hustler)body, and the slimness of a photograph. None of these slimnesses is nothing, but the uncertain ‘depth’ of each is a source of anxiety… How is avatarism working in that case… In the case of Rhianna’s video, maybe also she is the avatar of the listner/viewer– a synesthetic space (a voice and a face), in which her voice can barely fit (it doesn’t seem to come from her mouth but from the entire image), a shallow space which can fit one (virtual) body, or countless bodies, the virtual body being the ultimate slim body, slim but of uncertain, perhaps occult or dangerous depth as well… or not depth but projection… To become deep is also to project outwards… the risk of the avatar is that he or she might do stuff… yet that’s what he or she is designed to do…. Similarly, why is it so important that a phone be slim (a razor phone), a credit card is also slim, but a credit card number is less than/more than slim, and credit itself is obese and malnourished

  4. Lucas

    One must always fall for/into the inappropriate depth or projection of the pop star.

  5. Johannes

    I just watched this. I liked it. I would say that there are spastic interruptions of Rhianna’s body, and also her body at its most interferred with becomes one with the landscape – because the filter etc has made them both so artificial, so decadently colored. THe result is that it seems like a “slim” or flimsy body in one sense; but in another sense, the body isn’t very typical of mass media women’s bodies. And that gives it a kind of depth I think.


  6. Lucas

    Yes! I started thinking about your posts on spastic Beyonce after watching this.

  7. d

    In his song with Nicki Minaj Eminem offers a terrifying response to Rihanna’s desire to be “the only girl in the world”:

    “I ain’t into S and M, but my whip’s off the chain /
    a little drop of candy paint drips off the frame /
    twisted-ass mind, got a pretzel for a brain /
    an eraser for a head, f-cking pencil for a frame /
    you don’t like it then peel off bitch /
    every last woman on Earth I’ll kill off /
    and I still wouldn’t f-ck you, slut /
    so wipe the smile on your grill off /”

  8. “like a blood filled egg”: silence = rage in Wojnarowicz’s writing - Montevidayo

    […] in a discussion of Rhianna, Lucas shared this quote from David Wojnarowicz’s Being Queer in America: A journal of […]