watch fkl’s powerful new music video about objectification

The Seattle electro-pop duo premieres a mesmeric visual for its track “Violence.”

by Maggie Lange
27 October 2017, 5:35pm

Staying still can require a lot of strength. The statue game (the kid's contest that you won by being the most stationary) evokes memories of muscle shaking and mental stamina. Seattle duo FKL has made its new video for "Violence" an exercise in stillness. The visual unfolds across a dim mansion and an eerie swimming pool, in which five women pose in unmoving tableaux. The statue play is both chilling and inflaming. It's a portrait of controlled and repressed anger in the face of silencing.

FKL excels at expressing a rage that simmers — not the breaking point or the yelling release. The introspective electro-pop project of couple Sage Redman and Joe Gillick makes music that pushes you to pay attention to invisible powers. It mimics the sensation of watching a wolf approach; it's slinky, furious, and not to be underestimated. In "Violence," directed by Jacob Rosen, the women in their stillness seem to be a warning.

Redman and Gillick are best when they make cerebral obsessive loops that find a groove in the body but never quite let you get out of your head. Their new work, on an upcoming 10-track LP Out of Tune, pushes their anger to the point of confrontation. They cite Jacqueline Rose's feminist history text Women in Dark Times, about a constellation of radicalized women, as the inspiration for the social strains in "Violence." They handle this tension with intimidating precision. When a voice curls out cruelly, "When I'm violent be impressed because it doesn't match my dress," you're in the mood to obey.

The video for "Violence" is explicitly about the cruelty of objectification, the band says. The argument alone, that we should see objectification as a violence, is powerful, and the song and video make a brutal case for it. Take the powerful line, "We must be alive when looking dead." The women of the video are statuesque in the worst ways: motionless, kept, and confined. It makes you want to scream and it makes you want to watch it again. You listen for the violence, and you're impressed.

Sage Redman
Joe Gillick