K-Pop Meta: 4 Walls- f(x)
Just some girls, some blind love, and the horse of destiny
On this installment of K-Pop Meta we will look at a charming Alice in wonderlandian video brought to us by the trippy ladies of f(x) and the moguls of SM entertainment. You can watch it here or below!
First things first, this video is in a wash of pastels and Instagram filters, just muted colors everywhere. This is interesting given the video’s darker themes and it can take a few watches to truly appreciate the artistry of it. The whole video feels fairly surreal as well and plays with ideas of time and space as nonlinear. Dark themes, flash backs and pastel colors….What else could this video be about but one thing:
Love, and love can make you do some weird shit.
Love is often described as some all consuming thing that blinds you from the faults of the person(or people) you happen to find yourself in love with. It can be like living in a dream(or so I’ve heard) where everything kind of just falls into place. But is this really love…or infatuation? Is real love supposed to be so dangerous that you leave part of yourself behind for the sake of it? Or is it the all consuming power of infatuation and that feeling that everything must be perfect and right, even when it’s not. The women of f(x) may be singing about love, but this may be more of a warning then a lovesick ballad.
So let’s begin.
In the beginning of the video the women are all waking up, with hair full of volume and luxurious shine, as they move about the house in a bit of a daze.
This idea of waking up in such a perfect almost sleeping beauty-esque state so makes the scene feel a bit uneasy and false. It’s like everything is almost too perfect, too beautiful, too fake. It’s because this is Wonderland and as we enter the beginning of Alice’s descent. This Wonderland is a reflection of how we can move through feelings of love and infatuation while feeling so beautiful while at the same time feeling the weight of maintaining that beauty. Take for instance one of f(x)’s members, Amber. Amber is the one with the blue house coat(robe?),she has blonde hair, and Amber is close to Alice so for this blog, shes our metaphorical Alice.
As the video progresses both Alice and another f(x) member(Krystal I think…forgive me)move towards the kitchen to make breakfast, tea, or something vaguely European. As they approach the fridge both women open it as each pulls out the component for one cup of tea. One holds the cup and the other the tea. It’s a straightforward dish, but without those two components being together you just have an empty cup and some spilled tea.
They seem to go through the motions of trying to pour a cup of tea very thoughtlessly, as if they know or feel that the other component to make a full cup of tea should be there. They ignore the lack of it and instead continue as if it is there anyways. They are both moving independently of the other, yet still dependent on the others actions. This is sort of akin to loving the idea of something rather than the reality of it and when you have two people that do that(or 3 or 4), you find yourself in some odd state of loving the person for what they represent rather than what they really are. I suppose they call this love.
With this love, a new reality may be created that can involve another person yet is so far from the tangible person that we end up never actually involving them in our love addled dreams. You may become blind to the reality of the situation at hand and instead invest an entirety of yourself in the idea of something. It can be all consuming as the lyrics suggest. Love is like 4 mirrored walls and they are filled up by image(s) of the object(s) of your affection. In reach but still but a reflection, not the real thing. These mirrors are blinding, these mirrors are consuming, and that makes these 4 walls deadly.
Such a mismatched reality causes Victoria to slip on the spilled tea with the gust of a thousand north winds and land on the ground, stunned. Yet, no one else is in the kitchen when this happens. Both Amber and Krystal are no where to be found. This indicates that what they did happened earlier in the video and also stressed just how long this puddle went unnoticed. Even Victoria didn’t notice it until she slipped and had to be confronted with the reality of it’s existence. Victoria is alone in this reality and as the video quickly pans, over she finds herself in another world entirely.
She has fallen through the rabbit hole and as she wakes we find ourselves with not just one, but two Alices. Actually, all of the four members of f(x) become Alice as they all inadvertently end up totally submerged in Wonderland. What a nice twist, befitting of the chaos that is Wonderland and infatuation.
As they wonder(pun intended) through it they are in motion and at other times stuck in space, or oriented horizontally on vertical planes all in this wood land scape. This gives the whole place a very unnerving and uncanny vibe. Once again, like in their kitchen, everything is almost right yet things are so wrong. This is like starting to have that first moment of clarity as you move through love ,or rather, infatuation. The colors in these scenes are a little more intense and bright. You start to notice that things feel a bit off. This is an awakening. Sure things are still beautiful and pristine, but some facts are starting to become clear and you can’t quite ignore what you may have been blind to at first.
Yet, even when things aren’t quite right and you start to notice just how wrong they are sometimes you need that one push to really get reality to intervene. Sometimes for that you need one special thing.
You need a horse of destiny.
This horse seems so out of place in this video and the first time I watched it I was just….so confused to it’s presence. Now I realize that this horse is a type of stabilizing force. Now, I am not sure if they meant for this horse to be a metaphor for feminism, but today, it’s gonna be a metaphor for feminism. The horse can be representative of the idea that a prince must ride in on his majestic steed to save the day. This is the story book hetero kind of love that has no other complications. It is a straight forward and simple idea. It is idea that can daze you and make you get lost in it hoping for a savior and yet, there is no prince. Perhaps Amber/Alice is made to be that prince, but she never rides the horse or even mounts it. She simply allows it to be, accepting it for what it is. This can be seen as a type of rejection of the fairy tale. This dream is coming to a close and everyone is realizing it. Yet, has the damage to reality already been done? Isn’t the past but dead and buried? No, not today. This video is about falling in love/infatuation with someone else and falling back into yourself. Even if doing that means traveling back from the fourth dimension.
One of our many Alices comes out of her Wonderland with eyes and movements intent on changing the past. She is no longer in a daze and neither is Amber, as they run through the house. Victoria even runs into the kitchen just in time to catch Amber’s falling cup before it crashes to the ground. Love is no longer as all consuming and the infatuation they felt is no longer there.
Thus love and infatuation are intertwined and I have used them a bit interchangeably throughout this post. Thus, is love really even separate from infatuation? Is love a series of complex emotions that can lead you to harming yourself and others if you aren’t careful? The rewards can be high but so are the risks. The horse of destiny won’t always be there to guide the way and you can’t always turn back time, so just be your own destiny horse.
With that thought, we come to a close of this installment of K-Pop Meta. Keep in mind that this is my interpretation, so feel free to share your own.