New Jenny Hval Video Applies Female Nudity to Everyday Public Rituals

Jenny Hval’s Blood Bitch track “The Great Undressing” now has a music video — and one that very directly relates to its title.

The track features a steady beat that indefatigably marches forward, while the lyrics and melody ponder, and are open to wandering pretty much any which way. Similarly, the video presents a series of everyday modern societal activities — going to the gym, grocery shopping, doing laundry, ordering fast food — but one element frees them from their plodding normalcy and opens them up to dreamlike contemplation; the female protagonist is going about these rituals totally naked, surrounded by a clothed public. From setting to setting, the connotations of the character’s nudity resist neutrality, often wavering based on one’s own perceptions.

The director, Marie Kristiansen, said of the video:

I don’t want to overcomplicate the message; it’s my opinion that the audience should interpret this film as it suits them.  I will, however, tell you what inspired me to make the film. From an intellectual point of view I was intrigued by what would happen if you watched a naked woman totally ignorant about her own nudity going about a normal day. Would she be perceived as a sexual object? Or would her nakedness and femininity become something ordinary and natural? I have not tried to steer the film in the direction I thought was right, it’s more of an experiment that you should be the judge of. From a spiritual point of view the film explores loneliness and isolation in a world where capitalism and blending in are the two ruling factors. 

The song itself equates vulnerability and longing with capitalist urges, and it’s a theme that courses through the album, with Hval having told Spin she believes “the narrative of what love is is taken completely by capitalism…even more than sex.”

Watch the video (which, I guess given our own workday ideas of nudity, might be NSFW):