First Watch: Charlotte Day Wilson, 'Work'
The Women's March, which drew millions of demonstrators to city streets on every continent (including Antarctica) this past Saturday, was historic for its numbers and deeply striking in its planetary solidarity. The various marches were a flare for a new movement, galvanized by a shift to the right in national and international politics.
The video for "Work," a song released by Toronto singer Charlotte Day Wilson late last summer on her CDWEP, is a minimalist piece that alludes, silently and elegantly, to the nascent movement quickly calcifying around it. Its simple premise, "people commuting to work as a moving portrait" as director Fantavious Fritz puts it, amounts to a soundless scream washed — outside of Wilson's striking red — in earthen hues tuned lovingly to Wilson's wide, bright, humid voice. (Joining BADBADNOTGOOD for a song during the band's recent Tiny Desk concert, her innate talent, laid bare and uncorrected, is made plain.)
It's worth examining how interpretations of the song were likely far different around its release than at the present moment. For example, the line, "I won't let go / till I've got what's mine" shifts and glides, in retrospect, to accommodate and address this new, maybe darker, reality. It likely won't be the last time.
"I really wanted to use shooting the video as an opportunity to organize an afternoon of camaraderie with an amazing group of women, genderqueer and trans folks from my community in Toronto," Wilson, who identifies as queer, writes. "People got to know each other, make new friends and bask in the powerful energy that occupied an otherwise ordinary, mundane space." It's simply, beautifully, the latest example.
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