San Francisco’s Mane have remained a radical creative force well before the current wave of mass international reckoning. From their debut self-titled from 2013 to their recent album Alpha Female released this past summer through Digital Regress; the Bay Area group abides by an aesthetic of their own creation that topples the patriarchal conceits for a femme-forward non-binary ethic that encourages real progress & conversations. The ingenuity of the Chelsea Woodard, Lauren Hall & Madeline Allard trio is the way they acknowledge the movements & styles of anachronistic anarchic-pop of the twentieth & twenty-first centuries respectively by applying their own attitudes, energies & enlightening ethos. Mane takes all the previous punk & post-punk considerations in recognition of all that has arrived before, with a nod to everything that is happening now & what needs to happen next. The counter-culture sects & subtext are traded for determined DIY sensibilities that welcomes all cultures, all persons & all progressive arts to partake in new generative dialogues.
Follow up on the debut of their video for “The Cage“, Mane are proud to present the Elektra Johnson & Tay Rey video for “New World Order”. Based off the single recorded at Santo Recording in Oakland, California by Paul Korte; Mane’s Chelsea Woodard oversaw the art direction of the video that takes aesthetic inspiration from Věra Chytilová’s 1966 Czech new-wave film Daisies where they spearhead cinematic arts to rage & rail against the arrogance & oppressive extravagances of mankind. Like the cavalier treatment of the much maligned male dominated society by Daisies‘ central protagonists Jitka Cerhová [aka Marie I] & Ivana Karbanová [portraying Marie II]; Chelsea, Lauren & Madeline forego the phallocentric executive orders of impotence with their own omnipotent “New World Order” that makes a mockery of materialism through excessive exhibitions of indulgences of la dulce vita without apology or any pedantic explanation.
The visual for “New World Order” begins with splashes of VHS static accompanied by radio dial spinning-sounds followed by Mane’s menacing bass line lead rhythm section. The trio gather around an exquisite table of cookies, libations, tortes, pies, pastas, tinsel, among other provisions & other lavish items of lush adornments. Vino is spilled over cymbals like symbolic bloodletting, as candlelit visuals finds Mane emulating scenes from The Craft as the bruja cósmica motif is exhibited in a series of dramatic shots & screen test set ups amid low-key lighting to the foreboding knife ripped linen that reads BE AFRAID OF WOMEN in sangre-scrawled scribblings. The war path riding rhythm cords are met with the tense squealing screeches provided by dissonant violins that reinforces the eponymous raised fist clenched lyrical statement of, it’s a new world order, check the facts, the future is out there, get up or get out. Mane balances the macabre with a mix of Italo horror cinema, Czech & French new wave components & fragments to take a stand with voices & visuals to remind the world that women ultimately wield the true executive, international power. The “New World Order” is here, as Mane reiterates that the future is now & the future is femme & far beyond the antiquated binary constructs.
Mane shared the following introduction to their video for “New World Order”:
“New World Order” is a symbol of our movement initiating. “New World Order” is fueled by the fire of fed-up women. It is a feeling. It is a new place we’ve claimed for ourselves, where we manifest our futures. We created “New World Order” to make known our dominance and to stare down the harsh realities attached to being a woman in this world. We aren’t afraid of this reality. We are filled to bursting with rage. We are witnessing and participating in the sickly decline of poisoned Men and the rise of strong, amazing Womxn. We’re never going back.
The video itself is our take on the Czech film, Daisies, made by Věra Chytilová. The film was notably psychedelic and feminist-forward for its time. Daisies was officially banned in its home country due to the overuse of food, but it is apparent upon further research that that was likely a false reason put forward by the government. The true reason lay somewhere much closer to pure censorship of female sexuality by males in power. Due to the ban, Chytilová was unable to make films for nine years after Daisies‘ conception. We attached ourselves to this film because we loved the discussion Chytilová was having with the audience about both the relationship between women and food, and the overarching relationship between powerful men and this feminist film, which they feared enough to ban from a nation. As we looked deeper, we felt drawn to the parallel symbolism of the relationship of femininity and being gruesome, and that being an unapologetically gruesome woman can incite a disgusted, frightened reaction in people living out their day-to-day wrapped snugly in the patriarchal status quo. Similarly, being an unapologetically powerful woman can incite a similar reaction in these un-evolved individuals. As feminists, as artists, as self-directing bodies, as Mane; we refuse to be beautiful in any other way than the ways in which we dictate for ourselves. We are our sole masters. Daisies is provocative and dreamy with a defiant attitude, an aesthetic we relate to—and despite censorship, has made it through the ages into our minds to serve as a inspiration for a piece of the “New World Order”.
Insights from director/cinematographer Elektra Johnson:
Being a woman who is chronically misdescribed as a man hater, perpetually angry and full of complaints at any corner, the relief that came from this project was almost overwhelming. The space that we carved out for ourselves and each other during this video became not only sacred grounds for our creative exploration but also served as a safe space to talk about issues and share our individual stories of being womxn in what seems to be the closing in walls of this world. Struggling together in the claustrophobic mindset that deterring yourself from the natural stream of social misogyny is just you not being able to ‘handle it,’ possibly you’re ‘not man enough,’ or maybe you need to ‘grow some balls.’ Being a part of this team and video concept I honestly thought I had died and gone to heaven, being around other strong ass females demanding for their power, their lives and their freedom from these walls.. Well I guess I didn’t feel dead at all, it brought me back to life again.
Videographer/editor Tay Rey shared the following reflections:
It was so good being in this musicvideolandia over the last few months. It felt hella natural to be that messy, bloody and angry—To exist in a world where feminine pleasures & rage were the centerpiece. I happened to be editing during the initial celebrity phase of the #MeToo movement. Like a lot of womxn, the constant piss-stream of sexual assault stories forced me to reflect on similar weird and painful experiences that I had tried to forget about. We talked about creating a womxn-driven world as if it were this surreal artistic setting. But I couldn’t ignore the fact that while some version of patriarchy appeared to be bursting at the seams of our social fabric, I was submerged in the first project I’ve been involved in that was made—from start to finish—by femmes. I was like, damn, maybe it really is about to be a “New World Order”.