Metropolis, the story of a great city, held together by it's workers and ruled by the wealthy overlords.
Originally a novel specifically written to be released as a movie, the 1927 film Metropolis is set in the year 2026... and tells the tale of a corporate city-state filled with extraordinary architectural structures, skyscrapers and extravagant amenities for anyone that can afford it. Society has been divided into two rigid groups: one of rich planners or thinkers, who live in luxury on the surface of Earth in the lush skyscrapers; the others are workers, who live underground, toiling to sustain the lives of the privileged up above...
A main protagonist of the film, Maria, played by Brigitte Helm, is a respected member of the working class and is seen as a prophet due to her reciting of biblical doctrine and her ability to deliver messages eloquently while being relatable.
The City Master
After deciding that the workers were no longer needed and realizing the power that Maria has over the working masses, the City Master Johann "Joh" Frederson, forms a pact with C.A. Rotwang to create a robotic version of Maria that can be used to fool the masses into self destruction.
The Maschinenmensch (German for "robot" or literally "machine-person")
Contrary to the human Maria, the robot tempts men and encourages them to live lives of debauchery while in-sighting the workers to go against the words of human Maria - foregoing a mediator and taking matters into their own hands by starting a revolt.
Music artists or their designers have been paying homage to the robotic Maria character for many years and based on the rotations we've seen in fashion history, we'll continue to see variations of the costume. Here are a few of the artists that may have been inspired by Android Maria.
Artist: Kylie Minogue
Song: Come Into My World
Event: Kylie Minogue Fever In Concert Live In Manchester
Video Remastering: Digital Love YT Channel
Kylie Minogue's fans know her in part for her out of the box wardrobe and costume choices and this sentiment wasn't lost on the Australian pop singer as she stunned the audience during her KylieFever2002 tour. Emerging from the stage floor, wearing a silver robotic costume, the lighting and working elements incorporated in the design, helped to strengthen the concept of a dual existence between human and machine.
Song: Get Me Bodied
Event: The 2007 Annual BET Awards
Designer: Eddie Yang
Image Credit: Michael Caulfield/WireImage for BET Network
In June 2007, Beyonce' graced the stage as a gold robot, while performing "Get Me Bodied" during the 2007 Annual BET awards. The costume designed by Eddie Yang came to life as Beyonce' rose to the stage to give an energetic and futuristic themed performance.
Artist: Nicki Minaj
Songs: "Turn Me On" and "Super Bass"
Event: American Music Awards
Image Credit: Getty Images
Nicki Minaj ascended onto the stage wearing a shiny silver costume, atop a light studded stage during her 2011 American Music awards performance featuring David Guetta. Her costume was not as reminiscent of Maria as the costumes worn by Kylie and Beyonce' due to the omission of head gear - but she still delivered an energy filled performance while showing that her vocal abilities are just as strong as her rap skills.
Artist: Janelle Monáe
Album: Metropolis: The Chase Suite
Image Credit:The Wondaland Arts Society, Bad Boy Records, Purple Ribbon and Atlantic Records
Artist: Janelle Monáe
Image Credit:The Wondaland Arts Society / Bad Boy Records / Atlantic Records.
Janelle Monáe really likes robots and released 2 albums that pulls direct influences from the Metropolis film.
Released in 2007, her Metropolis: The Chase Suite album shows her completely outfitted in a transhuman body. In 2010, she kept the vision alive by applying more metropolis references on her Archandroid album.
The following artists didn't really take direct influences from Maria - but the transhuman concept of blending human with machine was expressed in their costumes and album covers.
Artist: Christina Aguilera
Released: June 4, 2004
Album: Bionic | RCA Records
Image Credit: RCA Records
Artist: Lady Gaga
Released: May 23, 2011
Album: Born This Way
Label: Streamline / Kon Live / Interscope
Image Credit: Streamline / Kon Live / Interscope
Artist: Lady Gaga
Released: May 29, 2020
Label: Streamline / Interscope
Costume Designer: Kristina Kiss
True to the over all Metropolis theme, but contrary to the preceding artists - Madonna took a different approach on the Metropolis idea, by playing the character of the Master of the city instead of wearing a robotic costume. Of course the association between the two is not as obvious as previous examples, but arguably, many scenes from her 1989 "Express Yourself" video, mirror many of the images captured in the Metropolis film.
Song: "Express Yourself"
Event: Music Video
Production Designer: Vance Lorenzini
Image Credit: Judiciary Report
Label: Sire / Warner Bros.
Image Credit: By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42140732
Source link for all Express yourself images - https://www.judiciaryreport.com/madonna-copyright-infringement.htm
The song was released as a single May 1989 by Sire Records - on the "Like a Prayer" album.
Album Label - Sire / Warner Bros.*
(Image attribution) - By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42140732
And last, but definitely not least - more like the first. Sophia.
The first robot to be granted Saudi citizenship is featured on this list because she's an actual robot dawning human gear. She was featured on the cover of the 400th issue of UKs Stylist magazine and she may be the first representation a new wave of fashion model. For now, she still creeps everyone out, but with promotion through performances and music videos from our current artists - this may all change faster than we're ready for.
Credit: Matthew Shave for Stylist Magazine
Issue: January 24, 2018
Who knows, sometime in the future, our artists may look nothing like how we're used to seeing them....breathing... Honestly with everything going on in the world I don't personally think it's outrageous to imagine a world where our top models have wire veins.
I don't know about you, but ---the parallels are kind of creepy and frightening when one stops to think about the love affair we've had with robots over the years....Some are really excited about the possibilities, others are extremely leery about what could happen if Ray Kurzweil has his way (if you don't know who that is...stay tuned to the "In The Future" playlist - I'll be covering him along with other futuristic topics