Ned Botwood - 2nd Oct 2019

Marika Hackman celebrates self-love and female masturbation in this subversive visual by Sam Bailey. 

Fingers pick tentatively at a hairbrush, prize apart a clothes peg, and bother a Victoria sponge cake. A wallet quivers; a rogue tumble dryer bursts open. If I were any wiser, I’d say there were some mildly suggestive double entendres on display here. This is not an Argos commercial - it’s the video for Marika Hackman’s self-described “wank anthem” Hand Solo.

Created by collaborator and fellow musician Sam Bailey, who also directed the UKMVA-winning My Lover Cindy, the video confronts the stigma of female masturbation. The symbolism on display follows the path recently trod boldly by Viva La Vulva, Kim Gehrig's taboo-busting promo-length ad for Libresse, and then moves on with impressive purpose and imagination. For movement direction, Hackman and Bailey enlisted the help of Evie Fehilly, a sex-educator who runs workshops at Shoreditch's SH! sex shop.

Together with her collaborators, Marika Hackman continues to do God’s work as indie’s pre-eminent social critic and queer humourist, dispensing golden one-liners like: "Under patriarchal law / I’m going to die a virgin." Then, after a wink and a grin, Hand Solo takes a more contemplative tack for the outro of the song.

Hackman recently asked her female-identifying fans to share experiences of shame around the subject of masturbation. And in these final moments, their sobering experiences crawl across the screen in shades of neon. This ending has a neat double-function as the solemn coda to the video’s climax, or as Hackman describes it, “the moment of shame after the ecstasy”.

SAM BAILEY:

The level of generosity shown by everyone involved in this project was incredible.

"Hand Solo was an absolute joy to work on. The subject of shame is such a tough and personal topic to explore. You find yourself questioning every decision you make whilst tip-toeing down a tightrope, balancing humour and offence. 

"The level of generosity shown by everyone involved in this project was incredible, which is so important with work that deals with sensitive taboos like masturbation. It was as if this was a project that everyone was ready to make long before I turned up with the idea."

JENNA LA NOURY (Executive Producer, Big Buoy):

"The concept of women disturbing the carefully constructed world of patriarchy through female sensuality, pleasure and self-love was just too interesting and rebellious for us to pass up! In general, we should all be doing everything we can to support and champion women in the creative industries and remove any fear, shame or uncertainty that may be beneath the surface."

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorSam Bailey
ProducerScarlett Anderson
Production CompanyOliver's Island
Executive ProducerSimone Radclyffe
Director of PhotographyBen Westaway
EditorMarika Shatova
Editing companyBig Chop
ColouristSamantha Day
Post production companyBig Buoy
Post ProducerJenna Le Noury
Post ProducerKatie Gillard
VFXSam Bailey
CommissionerConnie Mead
LabelAmf
Movement DirectorEvie Fehilly
Other creditsMotion Graphics Artist: Hannah Stanczyk Flame Artist: Eileen Chan Project Co-ordinator: Grace Manning Production Runners: Harry Goodwin And Helena Jerreat

Ned Botwood - 2nd Oct 2019

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