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Video Sundays: Jonas Mekas, Harmony Korine, and Britney Spears

Recommended viewing: Jonas Mekas encounters Harmony Korine and Britney Spears, drawing a triangular connection between the three artists.
Kelley Dong
"Leave [Britney Spears] alone!" Jonas Mekas exclaims, in this excerpt from his 365 Films Project in 2007. The project, all of which can be found on Mekas's website for free, records the filmmaker's daily interactions with mundane artifacts , including the tabloids surrounding Britney Spears after she'd shaved her head. Spears's plight strikes Mekas as a sign of the impossibility for an artist to be truly "normal." As Ed Halter points out, Jonas Mekas's video-blog entry (published in January) comes "months before Chris Crocker," whose video "Leave Britney Alone!" echoes Mekas in its front-facing camera and strong defense of the pop star. When returning to many of Britney Spears's music videos (in this case, the very reflexive video for "Lucky," which is also about tabloids) one also notices that she, like Mekas, remolds dimensions of personal experience to explore grander notions of the self in the world.
Three months following his analysis of Britney Spears and the disparaging press, Mekas films this encounter with a young Harmony Korine, and their friendship also appears to include the two's shared admiration of Britney Spears as an artist. (Referring to the infamous use of Spears's song "Everytime" in his film Spring Breakers, Korine praises the "beauty and airlessness" of the tune, and its simultaneous "hardcore aggression and menace.") In the years of struggle for Spears to assert her artistic autonomy, perhaps both Mekas and Korine perceive in her a boundless—and at times, even risky—imagination similar to their own.


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