M.I.A. Weaponizes The Future In New Music Video

In the video, graffiti declares "1984 is now." Er, not quite.

Much of the technology in M.I.A.’s new music video has a very low-rent feel. The lyrics of “Double Bubble Trouble” reference immigrant struggles and the outsider status of refugees; the high-rise apartments seen in the video could very well be the modest homes of refugees, now filled with technology unimaginable generations ago. Usually, talk about technological revolutions tends to emphasize the tech itself. In the video for “Double Bubble Trouble,” M.I.A. sets her sights firmly on the revolution.

Here are some of the highly political items that appear in the video (which you can watch below):

  • Quadcopters. The Model-T of drones, quadcopters are small and relatively cheap, and they can easily carry cameras. The ones in the video are even more basic than most commercial models, made from bicycle tires with 3-D printed parts and outfitted with peace signs and blinking lights.
  • 3-D printed guns. The weapons include the Liberator, the first successfully fired 3-D printed gun, and a panoply of bright orange AK-47s that appear behind M.I.A. at 2:10.
  • Anti-surveillance masks and scarves, worn as street apparel. They aren’t exactly Adam Harvey’s Stealthwear, but they’re similar.
  • Drone Survival Guide Poster! We wrote about this last year. Made by Dutch artist Ruben Pater, the Drone Survival Guide is sort of a cheat-sheet for identifying the strange robots flying overhead. On the back, it offers some rudimentary advice for avoiding surveillance machines.

There are also 3-D printers set in living rooms alongside hookahs and vaporizers, perhaps emphasizing how readily available these modern machines are. Throughout the video, “1984 is now” appears in graffiti, and that’s odd, because no part of 1984 concerned flying robots, homemade guns, or vaping.

Watch the video below. Seizure warning for those sensitive to flashing lights.