The single-take video for “Pigs” is ostensibly a lesson in gestalt: organic, geometric and linear black forms—clothed humans, amplifiers and drums, microphones and cords—on a gallery-white background. But perhaps more importantly, the spartan setup brought to the fore Trent Reznor’s appearance at the time: fishnet sleeves, vinyl in place of leather and a symmetrical middle-part and sideburns framing his face. In 1994, the look could be off-handedly dubbed goth, but the archetype Reznor put forth was far more complex, just as readily evoking teddyboys, cypherpunks, mods, rockers, victorians, creepers, punks and synth kids in one fell swoop (see also: The Crow
, 1994). His body is the real subject here: the duck-toed, combat-booted, mock-stumble posture paired with grooming and sartorial gestures that would later form the template for countless adherents, Harry Potter
’s Professor Snape among them.