Kanye West's "Power" video, which premieres Thursday at 11 p.m. on MTV, was a collaboration between the outspoken rapper and artist Marco Brambilla.
Brambilla is currently working on a nine-video installation for an early 2011 video retrospective at the Santa Monica Museum in California, but it was his "Civilization" installation at New York's Standard Hotel that first captured West's attention. MTV News caught up with the artist Wednesday afternoon (August 4) over the phone, and he said West told him the Standard installation was similar to something he would post on his blog.
"He loved the installation," Brambilla said. "What he likes to feature on his blog — and he featured it on his blog when it first came out — it's kind of interdisciplinary. Whether it's photography or video or sculpture or fashion, he's very interested in exposing the 'best of the best' or what appeals to him the most. He had never seen anything that complex, and the video collage technique that I developed for it was a brand-new thing."
Brambilla said West appreciated the project's themes of sexuality and religion, along with its overall "epic" quality. While Brambilla typically shies away from collaborations, he admired the similarities in their approaches. But it wasn't until Brambilla heard West's yet-untitled new album that he decided to direct "Power."
"I instantly connected to the themes on the album," Brambilla said. "The whole idea of celebrity, the idea of power, the idea of sensuality in it, there's sexuality in it as well, and those were all kind of themes that I've explored in my work before. Once I heard the album, that was what clinched it, and I felt very much in tune with the message behind the music.
"And then specifically with the single 'Power,' I've always wanted to do something that would visualize power, to do a portrait of what power would look like in a sort of timeless way and being able to have him framed in that portrait — essentially doing a video portrait of Kanye as a symbol of power was very consistent with my art practice and what I explore in my artwork."
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