Israeli Artist Gal Volinez On Why 'Work Bitch' Needed a 'Fat Guy'

By: Carsten Bauhaus
6.23.2014

A week ago, the gay Israeli artist Gal Volinez posted a video on YouTube that inserted himself over Britney Spears in her video for "Work Bitch" — as he imitated every pelvic thrust and hand gesture. The "mesmerizing" video, as Time magazine called it, soon went viral and so far has over 2 million views. The fact that a video of mine was displayed on Time magazine website is mind-blowing," Volinez admits. He also explains the inspiration and what he thinks it means in a world obsessed with body perfection.

What gave you the idea to kick Britney out of her own video?

Gal Volinez: When I've decided to do this video, I wanted to make it viral. Part of my method was taking a well-known video and make some changes without breaking the basic form. By putting myself (a fat guy) in front of a camera, replacing Spears, combining a fresh editing genre, it did the trick."

In the gay world, guys usually brag with their slim or muscled body. You seem to be proud of your kilos. What is your message behind it?

The obsession to be fit is a universal issue. I see it as part of human nature — the need to belong, to be a part of a community — to blend in. I'm not the blending in type.

How is that video related to the rest of your work?

As an artist, there is a pivotal characteristic of my work: to re-examine the social and sexual taboos, while reviewing the boundaries of my own body. My workspace embodies the familiar and, into that situation, I load surprising elements and connections that affect the viewer by feelings such as embarrassment, confusion, anger, and/or laughter. Hopefully my work could create a self-reflection in the viewer to, essentially, allow a momentary change of thought patterns.

So when Perez Hilton named you Britney's "BIGGEST fan," he was probably wrong?

Unfortunately, yeah, it's a mistake. A very funny mistake and to be expected when a video is out of context. It's something that I can't control in a viral world, so I accept that. In the case of Britney Spears, I see myself as an observer, mesmerized by a brand that lacks substance; an empty shell of “The Artist Formerly Known as Britney Spears.”

How does it feel to become a viral star?

I’m not really secure what it means to be a “viral star.” My life is quite the same as before: I'm still a struggling artist from Tel Aviv, Israel.

Any reactions from Britney herself?

I've got a gut feeling that she saw it. But I haven't heard from her.

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