Monday, July 2, 2012

Who is Labanna Babalon?

There is an article in Vice entitled, The Whore of Babalon by Liz Armstrong that introduces and interviews a girl named Labanna Babalon that has stuck with me this past week.  She seems totally insane/drugged-out at first glance but there is actually something really interesting going on.  She apparently took A LOT of acid for consecutive days and started to record herself and her cohorts doing various acid-drippy, sexually loose expressions of self.  It is kooky, and juvenile at degrees, but oddly it feels like an honest assertion of a philosophy of life, living, and perceiving that may be too off the edge for a gal like me but it is nonetheless tantalizing.

Labanna looks like she is in her early-ish 20s and she looks like a typical white girl from somewhere in America but her clothes, which look like raver-Wal-Mart-chic and her zeal and expertise in booty-popping her very well shaped posterior makes her above average.  She has sleepy eyes that seem to be drugged-out possibly all the time, but they aren’t crazy-eyes.  There is a blankness to them but also a Bambi like vulnerability.  In the interview she talks about aliens, 5D, sexual cult goddess but more then anything the idea of love and women being the transmitters of this love was the most interesting thing.  She says:

The Tree of Life is the internet, and the apple with the bite out of it is literally the computer.  Mainly what I’m doing with the whole sexuality thing is trying to take things like shame and brainwashing ideas about beauty and a woman’s “place” and use them in a positive way to combat the forces of domineering people. 

Her use of sexuality and her body is next level.  There is an overtness about it.  Like in her video La Porsha where she has My Little Pony like extensions that she is braiding outside near a rose bush and she turns herself knowingly in a way to profile her backside.  Even in this though there is a mix of self-awareness, curiosity, and a lack of inhibition that is not about narcissism or the need for the male gaze for purposes of validation of self. 

The way that she engages with the viewer is also very interesting.  It is direct, and there is a total awareness of being watched and she is not remarking or disqualifying it in any way but almost using it to cast spells on whomever is watching.  It truly feels like a portal into a land of bizarre space and time when you watch some of her videos.  There is a heightened sense of performance and clichéd dramatics in some of her videos but others mix this quite interestingly like her Underground New Age Order that has her lying on her stomach with a white facial mask and her big eyes gazing out as she recites a manifesto-cum-spoken word poetry about this Underground New Age Order.  She is like an actress playing herself playing another self that is her true self.  Everything feels like a complicated ball that both self generates and cannibalizes all at the same time.  It’s all very odd. 

In addition to her more off the cuff videos there is a music video called TH3R3S R3ALLY NO 1 LYKE ME direcetd by Angelina Dreem that has Labanna in a hotel room eating pizza, popping her booty on a bed, having friends with hair extension pasties dance and chill and a bath tub full of red blood water.  The “song” is her singing/talking over lazy beats and occasionally there are funny admissions like “yes I sell sex” and “I get fucking freaked out by myself” but there is something overall a bit sad about the video.  Somehow it makes her whole thing seem goofy, indulgent without purpose and little girl lost.  It is a music video though and those function much differently then a more intimate self-recording but this video does feel a bit reductive to the actually interesting aura that Labanna seems to posses. 

Regardless of any failure or success of any of her videos, there is something definitely potent going on.  Her use of herself and the way that she is using sexuality, femaleness, vulgarity, insanity, mysticism, and drugs does feel like it is, in it’s own way, dissolving this structure that is society, that is maleness, that is learned control over oneself to be a nice, productive, obedient person.  Her being a young, pretty woman is totally a part of the success of this, but the idea that anyone can be a transmitter and embodiment of another dimension of reality and perception is a fantastic possibility.