Balenciaga ad serves as creepy prophecy of dystopian future
Have you seen Balenciaga’s new promotional video for its Summer 2020 collection? Well, maybe you shouldn’t, especially if you’re like me and are constantly thinking of the dystopian direction our society is heading in. This video features robotic models as news anchors and reporters, all to the eerie soundtrack by Wolf Eyes.
Honestly, I’m a little creeped out by this whole video even though I feel like I should think it’s cool. The advertisement itself seems pretty straightforward at face-value. The newscast is arguably more diverse than ones we see on TV and, of course, they are decked out in Balenciaga clothing and accessories.
The advertisement has no actual speaking, just background music. As the advertisement is completely centered around a newscast, it also features a lot of headlines that foreshadow future events. One reads “No More Traffic Jams!” over a video of seemingly automatic and identical cars filing one after another down the highway.
Another says “Elections: Record Turnout Driven By Young People” over a video of a woman walking and talking on the phone. Everything about it seems very automatic. The models show practically no emotion and only move their mouths up and down when they are shown to be speaking. This stood out to me as many people are “cutting the cord” today and cable news is not as popular as before. Many of us watch it as background noise, so why does it matter if the anchors are speaking or not?
The other headlines are sort of strange and require more interpretation. One headline said “Where is the water going?” over an image of a sinkhole with water just pouring into it on an endless loop. The video is open-ended and as none of the newscasters are speaking, we never hear any answer to this question.
What I can infer is that it may be some sort of commentary on how our news channels function today. We see that electric cars have been having a positive effect, according to this newscast, but don’t see any answers about the sinkhole or its effects, which are bound to be very negative.
A large segment of the advertisement also centers around campaigning, featuring two freaky models talking side-by-side, presumably about their candidacy. This can be directly connected to our upcoming election.
Yet we’ve seen a lot of emotion, passion and anger in the candidates running for president in real life whereas these models, like the others, have no emotion. If they’re presenting their opinions on something, they don’t seem to believe in it very much. I question whether this is a positive or negative commentary on society.
On one hand, don’t we crave objectivity and wish it could exist in all reporting? Don’t we wish our candidates would just focus on the issue and not going after one another?
But at the same time, what’s the point of “objectivity” if it takes away how much we care and how much our representatives care?
The fact that the advertisement loops is also important to note. I believe this is a comment about how repetitive our world can be and how we hyperfocus on the same events over and over.
We allow things to slip into the margins because we’ve already decided what’s important. It also directly alludes to how news is presented today. News stories are often retold in multiple ways in order to keep them fresh, but they aren’t always replaced.
This sort of implies that we are a passive audience, entertained by whatever is in front of us. We don’t care if it is the same thing over and over again, as long as there is something to distract us.
In a way, I do see why they chose to use such dystopian models. While it’s partly to make social commentary, I also think the look of it can be appealing and futuristic to a lot of people.
Humans in this advertisement just wouldn’t have the same effect.
Really, I think Balenciaga did this advertisement to focus on the appearance and to also stir the pot by making the video intentionally vague. While I can appreciate the vision, the overall dystopian appearance and lack of emotion are overwhelming at times, especially when there are so many beautiful things about being human the way we are today.
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