Join 3,502 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Coincidence, subliminal message, subconscious symbolism, or what?
February 27, 2013 5:18 PM   Subscribe

I've noticed some recurrent patterns in music videos (use of numbers, colors, etc.) that have piqued my interest. I'm wondering if any industry insiders can shed any light or if anyone has explored this concept academically or otherwise.

Googling has only revealed a bunch of sites about wacky conspiracy mind-control theories. I'm not asking about whether the Illuminati controls Kanye; I'm talking more about videos as a developing art form which includes a unique system of symbology--or perhaps is sprinkled with insider references amongst video professionals, like that industry's version of 1337.

For example, the colors red and blue often form the basic palette of a music video. Color symbolism varies, but in Western culture, gender comes to mind: blue being a "male" color and red (more likely pink) a "female" color. However, in the past decade or so, the "red pill vs. blue pill" meme has cropped up in pop culture. Both symbologies refer to a deeper dualism. What I'm wondering is, how much of this is consciously present in the creation of a video and if so, what exactly does it signify (if anything)?

I've noticed the number 304 cropping up repeatedly too. In urban slang this refers to "hoe" (as in 304 turned upside down on a calculator). Then there's the HTTP status code 304 which a server will respond with if the website has not been modified since the date and time specified in the request. What I'm wondering about is whether there's any conscious use of this number in a symbolic way (whether related to hoe or HTTP or not) or theories that could explain it.

Oftentimes, this number occurs in videos as a time on a clock, as in Alanis Morissette's version of Seal's "Crazy" at 3:56 and t.A.T.u's "Bely plaschik" (NSFW) at 2:14. Interestingly, both of these videos allude to Lesbian themes and I wonder if there is any significance to that.

The trope also appears in Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time" video at 0:14; in Bloc Party's "I Still Remember" at 0:31 and throughout (note color themes as well); and of course in the name of Jewel's album 0304. I'm not sure how 304 might be interpreted in these contexts but it does jump out.

There are quite a few other examples of motifs that seem to be emerging in videos; these are just a couple that really stand out to me and I'm wondering if there's anything intentional to the pattern.
posted by xenophile to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not sure about the colors, though it seems like certain combinations turn up pretty regularly among the creative sorts.

With respect to the numbers, could you be experiencing apophenia? A while back, there was a particular 4-digit number that I was notcing all over the place. It even became something of an inside joke between my wife and I. I doubt there was anything more to it than a sudden awareness of it, followed by a healthy bit of confirmation/selection bias. On the other hand, it did provide me with an easy-to-remember PIN (that has no relationship with any of the defaults like birthdays and whatnot), so there's that.
posted by jquinby at 7:13 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Great question and something I've been curious about for a while--there's so much occult symbolism in music and fashion these days, yet it's hard to find legitimate explanations. But since you did mention theories, well, there is a recurring trope in occult mysticism that holds the transition between 03 and 04 as representing the spirit taking material form. Here's Aleister Crowley on their relationship:
"The connection between the number Four and the number Three is extremely complex. The important characteristic is that Four is "below the abyss" ; therefore, in practice, it means solidification, materialization. Things have become manifest. The essential point is that it expresses the Rule of Law." Book of Thoth
Also of interest would be the corresponding stuff on the Four Worlds in the Kabbalic chain of existence. Tarot symbology of the four threes and the four fours relates directly to this, and it's just generally a deep vein of occult stuff.posted by Lorin at 7:45 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Law of Fives.

See also, Apophenia.
posted by empath at 8:39 PM on February 27, 2013


« Older Hello, Hive. I'm working on...   |  It doesn't show up in pictures... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.