Be ‘Vulnerable’ with Marcus Whale’s new Clip

Each week, we select one artist to feature as our SPOTLIGHT ARTIST. This week, we’ve chosen MARCUS WHALE.

It’s quite an achievement when the title of a video encapsulates the exact feeling you get from viewing it. ‘Vulnerable’, MARCUS WHALE’s latest music video from his first full length debut Inland Sea, is absolutely striking. It isn’t brash, it isn’t explosive, images don’t flash at you. It’s not rapid fire or blunt. It’s a tension that is held; it draws you out and holds you down feeling absolutely vulnerable. It is as if, in a crowded room, someone wordlessly handed you a gun, quietly slipped away and left you waiting, tense and worried – entirely vulnerable and at the mercy of an unknown force.

The video is directed by MATTHEW DOUGLAS TAYLOR, who has previously directed Mere Women and You Beauty music videos. Taylor approached Marcus Whale to use ‘Vulnerable’ in a film and the conversation progressed to a collaboration in which the music video was made. Whale says “[it’s] a video that exploits the significant Venn diagram between our interests – the brutality of the male condition, its attraction to violence and power and the tension therefore between my desire and its toxicity.” The video does an excellent job of displaying this visually and musically. The song itself holds a degree of tension with the drumming sounding like the shake of a rattlesnake’s tail. It’s the sort of tension that is sickening as it draws out the pause as you wait for a man to yell, push, kick or scream. The swell of silence that heralds a dose of toxic masculinity.

Only two slowly warped traditionally male shapes feature in the video – one being Marcus and the other, a more hulking male presence. But it is finer details of how they interact with one another, being viewed and how they disappear, that display how successful the collaboration between Whale and Taylor is. The music video was shot using reflective fabric stretched over a frame, the image recorded is physically being manipulated by someone’s hands. The hands-on sense of control plays even further into the deconstruction of masculinity. The male figures in the video are warped by an off-screen force, their edges are smudged and a looming figure haunts Marcus. Yet the figure lacks clear motivation, is he there as a lover or a threat? And that’s the question of the video.

You are vulnerable until you know and you have to be vulnerable to ever find out. Masculinity will always demand a gamble of self-sacrifice to ever benefit from it, even as a wielder of it, you are still always at its mercy. It is hostile and indifferent, and moves not with you but through you. It’s exactly why the clip begins with a quote from the bible, Psalms 140 “O God, deliver me from the hands of a violent man,” for it is a terrifying and age old problem.

‘Vulnerable’ is the latest offering from Marcus Whale’s debut full length Inland Sea. Purchase and stream it here or purchase the limited edition Inland Sea book.

Words by LLOYD CRACKETT

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