Whilst some believe that true art should be restricted and vaulted away in galleries, I, an obviously more refined individual, do not. What we need is a revolution in the way art is conceptualized. Art is coming for the people, art is raining down all around us, art is constantly coming, and we are being showered in the warm, gooey, loving embrace of art, even as I type this. The internet is a freeing and wonderful resource opening up whole new realms of possibility and opportunity, many an intrepid artist has already taken to this medium to share their work. I have sifted through the best and the worst of those, offering to you a selection of the more interesting pieces.
Some of the finest art out there purposefully divides it’s audience, causing such a rift in opinion that it encourages discussion which is not only in the benefit of society and culture, but also greatly in the benefit of the artist themselves. Making your piece one that will be spoken about breathes an extra dimension and life to your work, not only does it ensure more people will hear about you and your art, because no one can resist a good controversy, but it also makes your work more memorable. Balancing between deliberately vile or offensive and thought provoking is like walking a dental floss tight rope suspended high above a huge and baited audience, few can manage it and come out unscathed. One artist who did manage is the Youtuber known as ALIEN REd WOLf with his infamous Youtube video “Willy Bum Bum”.
There is something to be said for those who embrace such a juvenile sense of humour, in the glowing after-laugh your brain is lit up with wonder and serotonin, it allows you to view the world around you just ever so more critically. This is meta art, the fact that part of what it serves you is actually outside the frame, in fact part of what is on offer was inside you, the viewer, all along. It may sound like the sloppy saccharine message tacked on to a cheesey childs movie, but it’s true none the less.
Whilst some may be offended by the crude animation of the male genitals and rectal sphincter, the playful combination of lyrics and simple but childish animation really drives home the overriding theme of the piece, which I believe to be “don’t take life too seriously”. The fact that this message is clearly lost on those silly few who manage to get exasperated by the content of this video is both an irony and art form of it’s own.
“Willy Bum Bum” combines crudity with credibility, it masterfully excels in it’s genre and therefore transcends it, becoming art. It is equal parts cheerful and cheeky, chipper and cheesey. If you can watch it and not smile, it may mean you are broken inside. Because staying in tune with the child inside us, the child we used to be, is an integral and humbling experience. We were still that same person, ignorant and unrefined at times, letting it out in a manner you control just means you are less likely to break that facade of professionalism and maturity you are required to erect daily.
Let us explore the themes of the piece, the constant refrain of the song and indeed this is true of the animation that accompanies it, is the idea of a willy and that of a bum. Not always separate, in fact they are purposefully combined at repeated points during the piece. Now there are two possible reasons for this, firstly the entire piece could be an anti-homophobic satire, to whit the silly nature of the piece is mocking the absurd fascination the majority have with whose putting what in who, the wasp sting ultimately being condemnation and allegation, ruining the simple willy bum fun previously enjoyed. The second possible reading is one of introspection, the subject of the piece is constantly inserting, or suggesting the insertion of his penis into his own anus, an act of self love. Is it possible that ALIEN REd WOLf just wants us to learn to love ourselves? Is he saying that we spend too much time looking externally for answers when we’ve had the tools necessary for contentment all along?
There is a point where it is said that the bum likes to consume plums, I believe the plum to be a happily rhymed stand in for the apple, the theme of forbidden fruit is subtly introduced into the piece this way. Talking about our bodies especially the private parts is looked down upon, as either crude, silly or childish. True with such repetition this art piece in itself isn’t going to change that, it is ultimately just a funny little song, but the effect, scope, appeal and knock on from it are far greater than that. Maybe it will open up avenues of exploration and conversation previously closed to certain people, what it will do for sure is brighten your day and make you think.
Words by Cuthbert Cunningham