The result is a brilliant mosaic of fragmented scenes that illustrates America’s disconnect with shooting atrocities and little to no change when it comes to gun reforms.
A collective social media obsession, a pale horse, Charleston church murders, shooting of Philando Castile and Jim Crow are used as figural artifacts in a series of cascading boards that paint the background for the dancers.
The video went viral almost immediately and hit the No.1 on the Billboards less than 10 days after its release. In fact, ‘This is America’ includes all the ingredients of virality that have been figured out by social scientists over the last 10 years. Visual spectacle, universality, reality, controversy, humor, emotion and bandwagon effect.
It turned out to be a more efficient social tool for shaking up the public about social realities then most opinion articles dedicated to the subject over the last year.
And it’s not a coincidence.
As videos are slowly becoming the most consumed type of content, a new field of research, called visual culture (VC) or visual studies, has been gaining in popularity in universities.
VC has started with a realisation that our visual is always “contaminated” by the non-visual ideologies, beliefs, prior experience etc. It has emerged somewhere between design, philosophy, anthropology, art history, film studies, psychoanalytic and queer theory, video game studies, comics and marketing.
It promotes visual literacy and recognises that there has there been a social and a cultural shift to the visual against the verbal and textual and that our written, textual, and visual systems are ongoing a continual reconfiguration.