David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Jenny Hval
"The Great Undressing"
3 mins 45s
5 January 2017
Norway Promos

Norwegian artist Jenny Hval makes uncompromising music. Having won critical acclaim for 2016's 'Blood Bitch' which looks at the taboo subject of menstruation through the prism of popular vampire tropes, her latest track from the same album comes with a video which explores the perception of self in a fast-moving and unheeding world.

A woman is shown going about her daily routine. There's nothing remarkable about this except for one thing: she is completely naked. No-one comments, no-one even notices. Not even she appears to notice.

It's a clip which delivers more the longer you think about it. On face value it leaves us nonplussed: what is the purpose of the video? Nothing appears to be being said. Why is she naked if there is no reaction or consequence? Is this just gratuitous nudity, designed with a cynical eye to bring attention to the director?

Even asking these questions compels us to examine the clip more closely. And as we watch it again, other thoughts occur to us while Hval's voice sings and whispers in our ears, comparing unrequited love to capitalism in its relentless, insatiable search for more, now, always.

It's not news that the female form is objectified, or that naturists are routinely mocked for the oddly provocative act of being nude without being sexual. So the combination of the two - an attractive woman, a mundane situation - isn't in itself groundbreaking stuff.

But it does hold up to the light to our notions of what constitutes our public and private personae. Whether or not we are conventionally attractive, socially adept, and intellectually competent, we are all just a layer of fabric away from exposure. We are naked apes after all; our garments both hiding and revealing facts about ourselves.

To see a woman - whose looks one assumes would help her glide smoothly through life - depicted in this manner prompts us to imagine ourselves in the same scenario. She is inviolate and vulnerable simultaneously... how would we fare in her position? Specifically, how would any woman fare? Automatically comparisons will be made. Does her lack of physical flaws leave her more open to criticism and ridicule or less so? Or, on the other hand, is her shape simply irrelevant here? What exactly does it mean to be female flesh and blood living in the maw of the rapacious machine that is contemporary Western culture?

Marie Kristiansen's video doesn't titillate and, to her credit, isn't artful. It just addresses some of the key issues about the roles assigned to our gender which we register from time to time but rarely challenge significantly. It urges us to pause, to give them voice. Deceptively clever work - and very welcome it is too.

Center Parcs
"The Forest is your Playground"

Chris said:

i went to a centerparcs once and it was actually impossible to go for a walk in the woods because they'd filled it with roads and static car


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Jenny Hval
"The Great Undressing"
3 mins 45s
5 Jan 2017
Norwegian artist Jenny Hval makes uncompromising music. Having won critical acclaim for 2016's 'Blood Bitch' which looks at the taboo subject of menstruation through the prism of popular vampire tropes, her latest track from the same album comes with a video which explores the perception of self in a fast-moving and unheeding world.


David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.