Pink by Charlie White is a short video featuring a stereotypical American teenage girl. The video is set in the girl's bedroom; an almost entirely pink room. The carpet is pink, the walls are pink, even the telephone she speaks on is a shade of pink. Looking around the room seems to be a pretty average representation of a typical teenage girl's room; the bed is unmade, clothes are strewn about, and posters of teenage boys, presumably pop-idols, are haphazardly pasted on the walls.
As the video begins, the viewer sees a young girl, happily engaging in conversation on her pink phone. The video progresses with various shots, giving further insight into the girl's life. At a certain point, the camera lands on a pile of stuffed animals. After lingering there for a moment, the viewer can see that one of these inanimate objects actually seems to be alive. This teddy bear, also pink, turns to look towards the girl. A song playing over the film states, "they made us this way."
At this point, the girl notices something is not quite right and glances at her hand that holds the phone. The shot changes and the viewer is shown a small pink conch shell that slowly oozes clear, gooey liquid. Simultaneously, a pink liquid begins to overtake the girl's body, beginning with her hands and feet. She looks alarmed, though that slowly turns to transfixion as if wondering "what is this beautiful, strange transformation?"
The teddy bear seems to be drawn to this transformation and slowly moves in the direction of the girl. The ooze drips ever-increasingly from the conch shell, eventually overflowing the shelf it sits.
The pink liquid envelopes the girls body, and her mouth agape, eyes closed. As this process is completed, and her entire body covered, the liquid flows away, revealing pink crystals. The phone now totally forgotten, lays at her feet as she marvels at her new skin. She is shown caressing her own face in ecstasy. By now, the pink bear has made it from its resting place and admires the brilliantly shining girl.
The viewer is shown the girl's pile of stuffed animals, where the bear once sat, and the abandoned phone. The bear has moved to the girls side, who is now laying in the fetal position on the ground. The bear strokes her and she no longer moves. The liquid that once flowed from the conch shell, flows back from whence it came, and the song in the background ends.
This video is loaded with some pretty loaded imagery. The beginning of the video can be seen as a survey of a girl's life before she has experienced the corruption of consumerism; she is the ideal, youthful teenage girl. This all changes as the transformation starts; perhaps something was said to her on the phone acting as a catalyst for this change or perhaps it was something a long time coming. This transformation can be seen as her demise. This pink liquid is consumerist culture, changing the girl to what everyone wants her to be.
At the juncture where the liquid has almost encased her body, there is a moment of realization. Realization that this change is occurring and that the old self will be gone forever once this process is complete. The teddy bear can be seen as the oppressor, who only becomes interested once the girl has made the move into this transformation. It becomes enamored with her new form that has been completely enveloped by consumerism.
Once the transformation is complete, and the old self no longer remains, the new girl admires what she has become. At this stage, when the viewer is shown the recession of gooey liquid back into the conch, the girl has lost all of what was of her innocence, youth, and purity.
The concept of the work is a pretty interesting choice, considering this work was created as a promotion for the clothing brand, Adidas. Was this a not-so-subtle middle finger aimed at the people who commissioned this work? This piece absolutely works in the body of work White has created for himself, so the piece makes sense from that perspective.
Artist/director Charlie White's installment is the slightly menacing pink icing on the branded content cake. In the film, White explores some strange transmutative passage of female adolescence using his always mesmerizing combo of the everyday and the other-wordly. It's weirdly provocative and just gorgeous to look at and listen to. Iezzi, Teressa (2006, Apr. 14).
Charlie White, for example, was insistent on doing pink. He put down ''brown'' and ''purple'' as his second and third choices, because he knew they weren't options. He only wanted pink … and you can tell by his video, he was really meant to do pink. Seiferheld, Sara via Meme.ca (no date).
This work is unique and particularly interesting as it belongs to a series of ads for a very well recognized clothing company, yet it speaks about consumerist culture and its effects on young women.
Pink is a precursor to one of White's more recent pieces, "OMG BFF MALL", an animated short featuring two stereotypical teenage girls during a trip to the mall. This piece is disturbing. Initially, this seems to be a fairly banal conversation between the two girls about how much they love the mall. However, the dialogue is taken to such an extent that the viewer begins to feel concerned for these girls. The two discuss how they dream of the mall and how it helps to want more than they can have, because they "love to want". This, just like Pink, talks about consumerist culture and its effects.
Green is another video featured as a part of the Adicolor series. This video, directed by HAPPY 2/7, invites the viewer to a dinner party of the very distant past (though it really looks like the future), attended by two older, heterosexual couples. The piece is narrated to give context. The narrator tells the viewers that they are witnessing an annual tradition, meant to celebrate the end of the nuclear winter.
The video continues, and shows one of the dinner guests placing a crystal dish at the center of the table. The lid is removed to reveal several green balls, the size of paintballs. The women dive in, quickly eating their selected delights. The narrator speaks of their greed, but how it is accepted in this moment. Shortly after these have been eaten, the first woman to have eaten one of the green balls is shot directly in the chest with what looks like a green paintball. A volley begins, hitting her many times in the chest. The narrator explains that this is part of the ritual, and brings her great pleasure. Soon, every member of the party is being shot with bright green paintballs. Each of them exalting in this "pleasurable" ritual.
The video closes with the narrator tells the viewer that this ritual is a reminder of the wisdom of the elders, "receive and you shall receive." Hill, Steven via Green (2006).
This video, like Pink, touches upon the ideas associated with consumerism. Each of the dinner guests indulge in the ritual based on the principle, "receive and you shall receive." This phrase can be interpreted that in this reality, and thanks to this tradition, one will forever be able to get more. The phrasing is a bit difficult; it is clearly based on those who give shall receive, however without the contrasting action of giving the phrase becomes nonsense.
Pink was originally shown as a web-release on the Adidas website.
- http://videos.antville.org/stories/1370727/ (the comments section has interesting discussion)