LA-based artist Charlie White makes creepy videos about teenage identity: American Minor, documenting a teenage girl’s morning ritual; that Adicolor ad with the cum-spewing conch shell; the Daria-style dialogue about teenage consumption in OMG BFF LOL.
The new videos he released last night are no less creepy or sympathetic in their documentation of teenage troubles. In his new album “Music for Sleeping Children” (free for download here), White composes synthpop to recordings of adolescent kids, who, from the sounds of it, are just as anxiety-ridden and careerist as the rest of us.
Georgia recounts the struggles of not being a popular kid from the perspective of a popular kid. “A lot of people say I’m really popular and that makes me happy, I guess,” she says to the tune of an upbeat dance track. The single is one of the more compelling of the tracks, and that’s in part because the music seems so well suited to the dialogue. It literally sounds successful. It’s also essentially empty. We listen to Georgia describe the problems of the less fortunate—losers, wannabes and girls with bad energy—as if she’d never had a problem herself. Whenever she pauses musician and producer Boom Bip loops in a chorus, “Oh Georgia, you’re so popular” “Thanks!” “Oh Georgia, you’re so pretty” “OMG, did you see her?” The video, Charlie White tells us, will be uploaded tomorrow at 4.
Isabelle, a 9th grader, has arguably been a little less successful on the popular girl front, if she cares. She was an early dater, and recounts a drama that ensued after dating a depressed 11th grader. The video imagery is mostly text, spinning ropes and game graphics. In so far as these works are portraits, it’s probably fair to say that a more complete, and arguably less stereotypical version can be found on any number of blogs, Rookie, in particular. But I don’t really get the sense that this is what the project is about. In each video, we see teenage ambition defined by desire for social capital, self-awareness, and the ability to affect change. In the end, the stories are neither all that deep, nor particularly different from our own problems.