My work aims to deconstruct the hysterical act, laying it bare for the viewer, as they can make their own assumptions about the emotion and intentions of the central character. Throughout this project, I have focused upon the idea of female hysteria, in both a modern and historical sense.
- Inspired by the writing of Luce Irigarary, particularly in ‘The Sex Which Is Not One’ with her ideas on how a woman is unable to express herself in a language which is not created for her to conductively express herself. I was interested in how this idea connected to the historical study of female hysteria, in which women were often subjugated to horrific medical practices due to a deep sense of melancholy, which would now be regarded as other mental health problems. I was particularly interested in a hysterical act, as women have such a lack of ability to express themselves through language, they act without language to express their anger and deep resentment at being regarded as ‘the second sex’, where their voices are so diminished in importance next to a mans.
- I was initially inspired by the work of Susu Laroche, and her exhibition exploring tales of female hysteria, which explored “four hysterical episodes in one room”, which told the tales of women who have ‘irrational’ responses to traumatic events. In this show, Laroche tried to understand and disprove the stigma of hysteria as she stated, “”The hysterical woman is not just furious or oversexed, but merely a woman confronting the constant undermining of herself.”
- I took inspiration from this quote and began to look artists who used the body in a way which undermined the use of the language, the medium of the oppressors. I began to look to artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Rebecca Horn and the designers Hood By Air and Alexander McQueen, as they all used the language of the body as their spoken word, providing an emotive outlet which cannot be corrupted by the trappings of patriarchal language.
- Thinking about this idea of language through the body, and the way language is used, I began to write short narratives, based upon an intense hysterical act, and was inspired by the work of Katrina Palmer, who often used narrative within her own practice in conjunction with other means.
- This led me to explore the idea of combining narrative forms with visual imagery, and so I wrote a short story about a woman who removes her skin in an act of immolation and despair, and put this story to a slideshow of imagery which related to the story. I very much liked the narrative in this experiment, however I wanted to expand upon the slideshow and focus upon creating a narrative through visual forms by making a story film to accompany the story.
- Inspired by my past research I began to look to film makers such as John Waters, for his portrayl of womanhood and hysteria in his early works with Divine, and to David Lynch and Nicholas Winding Refn for their portrayl of dark themes and unfolding mysteries throughout their films. I was particularly inspired by the way Lynch uses imagery throughout his films to allude to action, rather than portraying overtly graphic scenes.
- I then went on to the making process of my final outcome by experimenting with ideas of symbolic imagery, by using different textures to create photoshop collages of imagined imagery which could be seen in the film
PLAN FOR PIECE
- My film will depict the tale of an act of distinct violence caused by hysteria from a female point of view. I want to use language, yet contradict the overt natureof it as a patriarchal medium through the use of differing imagery on the screen.
- I want my film to pan a series of textures depicting a mix of lust, wealth, decay and flesh, in order to hint at action to the viewer but not disclose the actual events through footage.
- The story will be read above the film, and I would like this to be read in an apathetic, almost nonchalant manner in order to heighten the audiences space to react to the graphic events described.