In 2015, FKA twigs released her third extended play, M3LL155X (pronounced “Melissa” and named after the feminine energy within her); the EP, an audacious fever dream about sex, jealousy, and voguing, was released alongside a 16-minute short film featuring four of the EP’s five songs (“Figure 8”, “I’m Your Doll”, “In Time”, and “Glass & Patron”).
M3LL155X opens with Michèle Lamy as an anglerfish who swallows her own esca (“Figure 8”); from this, she produces a 3d model that morphs into twigs herself, imagined as a sex doll who deflates and comes to life after becoming pregnant (“I’m Your Doll”); she wakes up in a nondescript room and dances for a man inside a crystal until her water breaks (“In Time”); afterwards, she’s transported to a forest where she reaches into her vagina to pull out yards of tulle that transform into her children, eight adult dancers (“Glass & Patron”).
twigs frequently interrogates her audience through her usage of gaze and perspective. In “I’m Your Doll,” interestingly, twigs initially depicts herself through the POV of the man who impregnates her before switching to her own halfway through the song—incipiently, twigs is presented as a temptress who seeks to lure him in; when the perspective shifts, the man is revealed to be nothing more than a drooling lecher. The man who watches her dance during “In Time” does so disapprovingly, and the segment ends with his revulsion after twigs incorporates amniotic fluid into her performance. He’s the audience surrogate; he is shocked and disgusted, and she revels in it; she’s watching you watch her.
In M3LL155X, twigs represents herself in multitudes, juxtaposing power and vulnerability and choosing to exist within the gradations that subsist between the two. The fact that she could fulfill such a tall order is a testament to how brilliant a writer and director twigs truly is.
Micaiah Otero is a visual artist and filmmaker from South Florida. They are currently completing a degree in Film and Television Production in Miami.