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Walking the Tightrope: Selfhood and Speculative Fiction in Janelle Monáe's The ArchAndroid
Janelle Monáe's multi-part, multi-media work Metropolis can be read as a speculative fiction text. In my work, I examine the ways in which Monáe uses the structure of her second album The ArchAndroid and the music, lyrics, and dance of her video "Tightrope" to contribute to her underlying narrative. The ArchAndroid creates an auditory experience of time travel by varying the beat and musical style and through the use of specific production techniques. The accompanying video "Tightrope" delineates its titular metaphor through its music, dance, and visuals. These elements, as part of the central narrative of Cindi and Janelle, demonstrate the ways in which Monáe plays with the concept of selfhood by continually recontextualizing identity in time and space.