Here I will leave my Artist’s Statement and images and videos of my final pieces from the year to be assessed. I have detailed information about how I developed and progressed my idea on my blog over time, on the Studio page, if you start from the first blog post titled, ‘Assessment Piece:…’. Please do look at this, and also at the artist influences found on the Artist Influences page. Thank you very much for taking the time to look through my blog website.
The idea for this film first emerged in a discussion with peer Margrethe Liland, who aimed to mock the theory of ‘penis envy’ using bananas. The discussion progressed to the uselessness of men, and to feminist utopias in which men do not exist. It was acknowledged that bananas are similarly predicted to one day become extinct, and so I decided to take the light-hearted comparison of bananas and men to the next level.
This cheerful illustration of a feminist utopia shows women’s lives as very much unchanged, the monotony of their everyday exaggerated through the use of three panels. As a film of everyday life, the message is relatively subtle, although a critical clue was provided with the addition of the song, Yes, We Have No Bananas by Louis Prima, with the less relevant lyrics edited out. The simplicity of the narrative was attractive to me after watching Pipilotti Rist’s cheerful film Ever is Over All. I understand her film as a comment on solidarity between women scorned, seen when the female police officer simply smiles at the vandal. This inspired the inclusion of a female street cleaner in my film, and an homage with the slow-motion ending to my film. The panels also echo the two-panel presentation of Rist’s film. The black-and-white-and-yellow aesthetic which developed during storyboarding, hints at the banana theme.
The projection of the film onto protest placards reflects the signs seen in the women’s marches, and allows the comparison of bananas to men. Much of the art following the women’s marches came in the form of banners, such as those by Shepard Fairey, which demonstrates the revolutionary and community mind-set that the art world is taking in response to issues such as women’s rights at this time. After including the signs I feel the focus of the film shifted to political unrest and red tape in a more general sense, bringing to mind the early 2000s Euromyth that the EU banned bananas with ‘abormal curvature’. From storyboarding to completion, the idea developed substantially as more possible interpretations were explored. A news-broadcast style voice-over was recorded and then omitted, so that the film was not too prescriptive, allowing viewers to analyse the film from many different viewpoints. People have previously interpreted the film as a comment on trade, Brexit and the EU, and Trump’s feminism issues.
The latter is most accurate due to the inclusion of clips from the women’s marches, sourced from news channels on YouTube following Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. These clips make the utopian context clear, by showing the upset women faced in a world with men, as a flashback to a different time. Sourcing YouTube clips was a skill I first developed when making the film ‘Projecting Hate’ at the start of this academic year. As well as commenting on prejudice following political changes, another similarity these films hold is their careful juxtaposition with cheerful images, in an attempt to point out the hypocrisy, and the simplicity of the situation; in this case, that women don’t need men.
Cooper, E. (1982) Who Needs Men, London: Coronet Books.
Rist, P. (2005) Ever Is Over All. Film.
Rohrlich, R. and Hoffman Baruch, E. (1984) Women in Search of Utopia, New York: Schocken Books.
Final piece and relevant previous pieces completed this year:
Final film file, before projection:
Final rough test of film projected over placards:
Moving Portraits: oil painting and digital project from autumn term. Please play from 0:32.
Projecting Hate: film and mixed media project from autumn term. First film based project, also exploring political unrest juxtaposed with lighthearted images.