animal heads on human beings: the archetypic image appears again

text: Maria Myagchenkova


Remember the office worker with a Rottweiler head? Do you have a vivid recollection of a bird woman, a lion with dreadlocks and deer heads placed on bare-chested human figures? And, most importantly, do you still dream about Mishanaya and Leva from Irina Gorbacheva's instagram? Maria Myagchenkova, a Jungian psychologist, places this formerly fashionable trend into a mythological context and delves into it.


Ramona Falls – I Say Fever


Is an actual kind of a classic story and therefore that's number one. A freaky bestial-human world created by Stefan Nadelman, a gifted American cartoonist, refers us to ancient Egyptian deities, no matter how we recalcitrate it. Reminiscence of Egyptian papyri becomes even more visible by the predominance of side-views and half side-view angles. The animal world presented in the clip is surprisingly diverse and it also resembles the divine pantheon.

Traditionally in Jungian Phycology, animals personify an instinctive matter in a person hidden under clothing, cosmetics and social habits in everyday life. In the clip, human masks being removed expose animal nature. So, card players end up being dogs, the protagonist becomes a rabbit, a woman who causes fever with her perfume fragrance becomes a wolf, and Leo Tolstoy playing the guitar suddenly becomes a lion. Regarding the last character, by the way, there is an alternative version: many visualize Charles Darwin in him, and I think, you agree, this also fits perfectly into the concept of the video. The hunter (a hawk or a falcon with a gun) exposes essential truth, reminding us of the Egyptian Horus. Horus was depicted as a man with a falcon head being responsible for sense and order and was in favor of clarity being the all-seeing eye.


Capital Cities – Kangaroo Court


Song title is derived from an English idiom Kangaroo Court, meaning an unfair trial with prejudgement of the outcome. The plot of the video is quite simple and short-spoken: a zebra who dared to impersonate itself as another animal was sentenced to execution and eaten. Thanks to animal outfits, masks that people are wearing, what's happening in the clip, on the one hand, it looks more like a toy, which allows raising concerns with a less dramatic outcome. On the other hand, animals continue to be associated with the human mind: Lion is power and authority, Pig is impurity and ignorance. Being a zebra means to disguise oneself: stripes prevent the correct assessment of the animal's body shape. It is ironic that the coloring gives a zebra out to predators.

Also being a Zebra means being a contrast In the age of tolerance, the “black and white” situation is unacceptable. Humanity strived to get into a gray zone, avoiding black and white with its social behavior. Yet, this polarity of the assessment of the world appeared in the course of the evolution, allowing to separate edible from the inedible, dead from alive. The zebra with its black and white (unlike, for example, a neutral-colored horse) is not acceptable in modern society. Besides, it serves as food for the Lion. However, the king of animals has to find justification for his desire to enjoy a bloody steak. He uses human tricks and with the help of the projection scheme places his black and white installations in Zebra, declares her persona non grata, executes and eats peacefully.


Storm Queen – Look Right Through


The animal mask acts as an element that gives strength to its owner in this clip. Let us remember a shaman ritual, who reincarnates into an animal wearing its skin. This makes it possible to disjoin with an accustomed human and fall into an ecstatic trance. Many ancient tribes believed that the mask had its own spirit, and the one who wears the mask joins its spirit. Thus, the protagonist joins a white panther in the Strom Queen clip, a beautiful and strong animal, which is all quite rare. The use of this mask is a desperate attempt by its owner to finally draw attention to himself. In addition, it gives the character two more features peculiar to the family cat : incredible plasticity and a peculiar right to choose the victim. However, it cannot be said that the women appearing in the clip are inferior to the panther in their predatory qualities: despite the total absence of masks, they act in a powerful independent instinctive manner, demonstrating sexual freedom and attractiveness.


Jim James – A New Life


The man with a head of a bull is black-and-white perceived reference to the Minotaur legend in the Europian tradition. However, we find an unexpected mismatch with the traditional character in Jim James's video: this man is a woman. Wearing a red and pink dress, she tramps her feet and pounds the ground, imitating a bull's motion waiting for its victim. Just like the Minotaur in the ancient Greek myth, she prevents the character from leaving the labyrinth of doors not allowing him to enter a conditional “new life”, the song is dedicated to.

Another gender rearrangement in the video is dancers wearing men's suits behind the protagonist's back, suddenly appearing and as suddenly disappearing at the time of the final encounter of the protagonist with Minotaur. At the same time, there is another mythos appearing: Like in The bottle Imp by Stevenson, the head of the bull passes to the next owner, while the woman manages to get back through the endless enfilade of doorways to her familiar world.


About You – VASH


A few girls looking into the camera, swirls of cigarette smoke in slow-motion and a fox mask — that's what we've got to analyze in this clip.

Girls act pretty much the same: climb up the stairs, sit on the sofa, listen to music, smoke and puff the smoke out. As if all the girls, the observer deals with, merge into the one; time and space are being distorted. With the help of this generalized character, the basic concept of the Jungian analysis becomes visual — the anima as the unconscious feminine side of a man. Suddenly, through the darkening of the screen, a fox mask appears on the face. This unexpected transformation of a woman into a fox, solved by primitive theatrical means, reminds us of Japanese folklore: Kitsune is a fox demon, which has the ability to take on the appearance of a young girl. For example, one of the traditional motifs is stories about wife-foxies. Married to such a woman, one day a man sees his wife's true form, but does not banish her and suggests that the fox wife should visit him every night as a woman. It is interesting that this legend gave folk etymology to the word “kitsune”: From ki-tsune (“always coming”) the fox wife turned into a kitsu-ne “let's go and take a nap.”