I couldn’t help but post this video after seeing it during a mid morning malaise, half way through a deathly banal bowl of Special K. St. Vincent, the pious stage moniker of Annie Clark, presents this searing video for “Actor Out of Work” off her latest, Actor, released earlier this month. In the video, Ms. Clark interviews, err, interrogates…err politely states the facts of life to a string of “actors” lined up in a sparse, sprawling warehouse for the better part of the entire song. She pulls this off like a guidance counselor from hell amidst a storming rock backdrop, patiently explaining the vauge motivations (“you’re a bandage, pull it off”) and glaring flaws of her subjects with a candor and disconnection Kubrick would have envied.
It’s a provocatively simple video that pulls out pretty decent performances from the insecure drones getting reamed to high heaven by Clarke’s disturbingly serene persona. “You’re a liar and that’s the truth/you’re an extra, lost in the scene” she states with a quiet assertiveness, only to follow up with a gorgeously oblivious humming harmony that’s like wrapping a pink bow on a field dressing. Why are these people subjecting themselves to this? Is this an audition? Witnessing the last man interviewed by Ms. Clarke easily snap out of his crying fit, I can’t help but wonder if these “actors” enjoy this, or if these people are actually actors at all.