What the fuck makes this video so hypnotic? It is 10 minutes and 31 seconds long, it has nearly 2.3M views, and I watched the whole thing without fast-forwarding. In it, Kim Kardashian puts makeup on her face. Basically, that’s it. Sure, she talks. Yes, products are plugged. In theory, one is learning something. But what exactly are we witnessing here? Surely, it must be more than that. Whatever it is, it is simultaneously shallow (she is smearing substances across her visage) and deep (watching it, one falls into a vicarious, Narcissus-esque stupor: If only we could wallow in our own superficiality so exquisitely). Or, perhaps, it’s something else. What surprised me (quietly!) about the piece was that she didn’t just directly build herself a new face—she obliterated her real face first. When we start, her face is naked. Then she turns her tableaux into a blank canvas. After that, she paints another face over the face she eliminated. What does this represent? The female desire to disappear? The culture’s interest in vanishing her? Something else altogether? Kim is droning on about something or other while she smears on another layer of spackle. Before we can get a handle on her, she’s gone already.
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