Analysis on “I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much” by Pipilotti Rist

Analysis on “I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much” by Pipilotti Rist

(Romney Smith)

“I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much,” is a contemporary piece in the form of a video by Pipilotti Rist, an artist from Switzerland who works with illustration, commercial art, and photography.

The video begins with a blurred image of a girl with shoulder length hair and red lips singing “I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much, doi doi do do do do, do do.” She repeats it again and again and each time it gets faster and higher pitched and then goes back to the first tone. She backs away from the camera and begins to dance back and forth as if crazed and taken over by her words. Her voice has been sped up, as have her movements to portray a dramatic and crazed person, which is further emphasized by her black dress that allows her breasts to hang out freely and bounce around as she dances mechanically. After almost two minutes the film screen turns red and her voice is slowed down until it is deep and prolonged, then it speeds back up to the high pitched chipmunk like sounds and the girl nears the camera with a creepy stare.

Time is an important element in this piece and is incorporated with the video’s speeds that change from fast to slow. The woman’s voice speeds up and slows as well to demonstrate an obvious contrast, further emphasized by the changing color tones of the video, black and white for fast and red for slow. Around the 3 minute mark, the fast dancing continues to occur but the video is now continuously frozen over the woman’s image as if even though she is still moving, video-time has been slowed as if her frantic actions cannot be filmed. Soon the Beatles song called “Happiness is a Warm Gun” plays over the film, which is the song that the lyrics she sings are from. The screen turns blow and the girl freezes momentarily before continuing to dance. The film ends with the Beatles singing “I need a fix cause I’m going down,” and then a short clip of the girl dancing one last time.

This video seems to play on the girl’s insanity and how it has increased overtime. It is as if she was sane when she first heard the original song, which when played in the video sounds like a soothing calm before the storm; the storm the girl makes of the song in a horrible and frantic high-pitched voice. The song itself has had many possible references and meanings, one of which is that the song references heroin, and the last words sung in the piece are “I need a fix.” It seems to say the girl has gone crazy because she needs her fix, which is why she dances around in a frenzy as if yearning for something. “The White Album” which was the album the song in the video references came out in 1968, and Rist created this video piece in 1986, which is another portrayal of the passage of time. The song created in the 60’s is still used later on and today, and in Rist’s video piece. Therefore the video not only uses a favorite piece of music in society to show time’s passage over the years and how good music continues to be played, but the new way the song is sung transforms a timely masterpiece into something borderline disastrous and new. A song sung with beauty is now sung with fervor and mismatched melodies. This could also be referencing how society has become more and more corrupt over time, also demonstrated by the crazed woman not caring that her breasts are exposed for all to see. Generally in society that is not socially acceptable but as she corrupts the song she also corrupts her own image. Aside from the song, the speeds and sounds changing, colors changing, the quickness of the girl’s movements as well, all reference time.

2 Responses

  1. I remember watching this either in ARTS 1020 lecture or when I was just doing some common knowledge research on contemporary artists (cause i do that all that time for fun ;) haha ). I found that video to be unbearable to listen to! It was just downright obnoxious. It works like this that I question the validity of being considered art. If Piplioti Rist wanted to portray the idea of “not being the girl who misses much” I feel she could have done it in a much more pleasing sound to listen to, or in a way that the beauty of silence could be incorporated (*hint of sarcasm intended)!
    I like how you pointed out “A song sung with beauty is now sung with fervor and mismatched melodies”, and that “This could also be referencing how society has become more and more corrupt over time, also demonstrated by the crazed woman not caring that her breasts are exposed for all to see.” In regards to this statement, it makes me think about how when I take a step back from society today, as to truly see how it has changed throughout my life and history in a negative way, and how it all just gives me a headache. In order to get rid of this headache, I simply just stop listening, and go with the flow. Ahh.. I see! This work can be seen as something that causes mental and auditory pain that in order to aid it, we must change the way it sounds, or just stop listening. We can simply just go with the flow of life, as if in the video we were to mute the sound and watch the crazy girl dance.

  2. I personally loved it but only felt that it spoke to my dark side and made me feel as if the girl was held captive for drug reasons in a cell of by some sort of creeper, so you could imagine my disappointment when the artist tuned out to be a ‘normal’ woman. But I have to agree with the fact that there could have been a better way to express the displeasure with society, but does this mean that the girl singing is missing anything at all aside from her morals. Ironically enough I fell in love with this after seeing it at MoMA and not understanding the video so I became in a sense hypnotize by the crazy dancing lady that it made me want to get inside of her surroundings. I am upset that in order to elusively grasp the idea of this I needed to know an old Beatles song!

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