In the 1970s, performance artist Marina Abramović created a piece called Rhythm 0 in which she arranged a collection of 72 objects – instruments of both potential pleasure and potential violence (including a gun and a single bullet) – on a table, and sat passively for six hours essentially inviting viewers to do what they would to her with those objects without fear of either reciprocation or retaliation. You can hear the artist talk about the results – yes, someone did load the gun – here.

Well, this isn’t quite so extreme. But there are parallels. “Drunk Girls”, the new video by LCD Soundsystem for the first single of their just-released album features the band, led by songwriter-producer James Murphy, surrendering themselves to the initially merely annoying but increasingly violent whims and wiles of a gang of people dressed up as evil pandas. For instance, James Murphy’s trying just to get through the song’s first verse, not pulling any crazy rock star moves, no windmilling arms, or skyward fistpumps – just a guy standing there singing while being prodded and fondled by panda suit people.

The video’s camerawork seems to be working in conspiracy with the pandas. Before we can get too wrapped in the minor abuses being rained upon Murphy, who only momentarily seems to defend his personal space (and seems to catch himself, as if he knows he’s transgressed somehow), the camera jerks to bandmate Nancy Whang. The pandas jiggle her microphone while she tries to sing. Annoying, yes, but harmless. Soon enough, though, the evil pandas are blowing air horns in people’s ears, gassing people with colored stage fog (I think?), stripping them of their clothes, tackling them, dragging them around the floor, smearing make-up on faces, duct taping them together and setting off firecrackers around their bodies. There’s property damage. There’s vandalism. It’s like a contained riot.

Sure, this was almost certainly a more controlled “happening” than Abramović’s Rhythm 0 – at the very least, there were no fatal weapons being brandished about – but you start to get a sense by the end of the video things have gone a little beyond the group’s “artisto-masochistic” capacities. Moreover, there’s something strangely adorable about the panda people – specifically their costumes, the cheap-looking coveralls, the Sharpee facial features are as cute a third-grader’s homemade Halloween costume, but as one of the video’s Youtube commenters noted, it’s also as sinister as a Slipknot get-up. It certainly looked a lot more fun to be one of the pandas than to be “with the band”, so to speak.

All this sorta got me thinking: Lindsay Lohan. (Deep thoughts by Paul Lorentz.)

But then again, maybe this was just another exercise in personal limit-stretching and self-defeating unrockstardom for James Murphy, whose video for the 2002 debut LCD Soundsystem single “Losing My Edge” (a hilariously specific indictment of hipsters) featured Murphy getting slapped in the face by an anonymous hand (or several)… like a hundred times. The band’s third, and what Murphy has suggested will be final, album This Is Happening, hit stores last week.