On Friday an eager crowd gathered at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for a U.S. debut. Rumors and hype surrounding the event traveled from as far as Europe where the premiere of Kanye West and Steve McQueens “All Day/ I Feel Like That” video had taken place at the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris. The U.S. premiere would run only four days (July 25-28) and would strictly ban any form of taping or recording of the event.
All Day/ I Feel Like That
The piece is a single nine minute shot featuring a modified version of “All Day” and another track titled “I Feel Like That” from Kanye’s up coming album release (SWISH). During the nine minute shot Kanye ducks, dives, and dances around a bare and raw London room as he avoids the camera’s prying eye. After several intense minutes of West’s animated movements around the room he collapses, sweating, and exhausted, thats when the music changes.
The now familiar tune of “All Day” fades and the smoother “I Feel Like That” begins to be heard. West slumps to the floor, gathers his breath as the music builds before again singing along with the song. “I Feel Like That” is derived from West’s time in anger management, “When you go,” explained West, “they give you this list, and they ask you a series of questions to see if you’re truly angry. And I am.” Despite the origins of the line the melody is calm juxtaposing the heavy subject matter. This exploitation of energies is not surprising to seasoned fans, in fact, it is easy to see the Dropout is at it as always.
Steve McQueen came on the scene in the early 1990’s with a heavily artistic film style. Institutions around the world hold his art in their collections and most recently he won the Academy Award for the feature film “12 Years A Slave.” So how do an Oscar winner and an Academy Award winner decide to collaborate? By accident really, the two had first spoken on the phone after West had seen a retrospective put on by McQueen at the Schaulager exhibition space in Basil, Switzerland but did not meet until by chance at the London Dover Street Market. West informed McQueen he’d be filming a video later in the week and like that the collaboration began.
“I wanted to put the camera on him, and goad him, and exhaust him,” says McQueen about the piece. “It’s about the gaze. It’s about wanting to be in the gaze, and then the gaze following you with a twist and turn,” and thats exactly what McQueen achieves. The aggressive and relentless handheld camera work visibly tires the young rapper in an almost trance like manner. West’s wary gaze demands your attention.
It’s a collaboration not many would think to make but then again that is what makes it a true artistic venture. Two artists feeding off each other to obtain one goal, create one piece. As Mr. West said on Friday, “Artists are artists. I’m a bad celebrity, but a pretty good artist.”