BATESZ

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‘Strawberry’ is a two-minute video work with three shots. It begins in a kitchen at the window with the camera facing out toward the light (it’s a bright sunny day). Held up by the hand of the protagonist is the silhouette of a disfigured [is disfigured the right word here? misshapen maybe?] strawberry. The protagonist plays with the strawberry in her hand, twisting it around to reveal its form. The ‘Strawberry’ is dropped and with an exaggerated sound effect you hear it hit the windowsill. The camera begins zooming in and out of the strawberry and a voice over starts to say, “You are not perfect” over and over again in different edited voices. Then you see the protagonist eat the strawberry with a close up shot of the mouth and there is laughing from an external source. [rephrase this last bit? 'a laughter track' or something]

The video was made by filming on an iPhone camera the scene in a Dutch kitchen in Rotterdam whilst having breakfast one morning. It was then edited together on video editing software Adobe premiere pro with the additional sound track. [are brand names useful? maybe for a professional audience eg. other artists, but for a broader public?] The film can be watch[ed] online and if presented it can be viewed on a monitor or projected and the size doesn’t matter. [you don't want to think more specifically about presentation/conditions for showing the work?]

The video produced discussion around the terms imperfection/perfection and how it is portrayed by the media and in advertising. The ironic tone created a critic of contemporary advertising and was aiming to raise issues about shame, embarrassment and self-image or perception.

‘Strawberry’ was also filmed using hand held mobile camera as in my previous works. The use of the artist’s own voice, an attention to hands and body parts as well as the format of a video made this work relate to previous works. The internal domestic setting of ‘Strawberry’ creates an intimate environment conducive to feelings of anxieties and self-consciousness prevalent in previous works.

The work was made whilst beginning my studies my the Piet Zwart Institute in October 2016. The fruit used was bought at one of the Rotterdam markets whilst living in a new city. It was filmed in Dutch kitchen that creates a different aesthetic from previous locations where I have filmed. For me it was still very much associated with my previous work in content but now embedded in the new style of where I live. Some people have said it has a youtube/DIY quality and therefore fits into an amateur art making aesthetic possibly thinking about a de-skilling or anti-art. Such as in ‘Strawberry’ where the light in is purposely at an undesirably position [for] seeing the strawberry.

In a broader context the work could be on an online forum or website that deals with female insecurities and younger girls or teens worrying about body imperfections. [think more specifically about how to pursue alternative distribution? it 'could' be in these places but how would you make that happen?] It could be used as artwork in a doctors or sexual health clinic. It could be used a sort of mockery of advertisement[s] to remind people about being saturated by the media by perfect bodies and brainwashed into thinking about products we need to buy to enhance ourselves.

“Shy Girls” is a performance work in progress. There is a female performer who is positioned in the centre of the room kneeling on the floor. There are chairs in a rough circle around her but facing many directions. The performer is naked and surrounded by 4 bowls filled with melted ice cream of a fleshy/beige/skin tone. She begins applying the substance to her feet and legs and then works up the body in a purposeful way to cover her entire body up to the face. As she is doing this she speaks two words, “special” and “smothered”. The voice begins in a whisper and gradually develops into loud shout or scream. Once the body is covered she pauses and breathes heavily. Her legs are trembling throughout. [is the trembling on purpose or a kind of side-effect of performing?]

The work was made by melting two tubs of Neapolitan ice cream and putting them in bowls, rehearsing and following the steps listed above.

The work was made as an experimental piece as it has been something I wanted to make since the end of last year where I decided these two words had become important to me. I wanted to talk about the many meanings that these words associated with. I wanted to raise urgency by the performance style [< rephrase this bit? don't totally understand it] about issues affect women today, relating to food, consumption, body-image, control, and social pressures.

The work was similar to past work in content. It produced discussion about consumption, advertising, social constructs and a gendered vulnerability. Both works used the artist’s body and voice. The use of the words like special and perfect and how people assume connotations to what they think about these words [rephrase bit about connotations?]. There was also the strawberry flavour in ice cream and actual strawberry in the video. I think both works were intimate.

The differences between the past work and current work was the form, one being a video and one being a performance. The performance was a more planned and prepared work whereas the video was much more spontaneous and made very quickly. The performance was something I was thinking about for a few months and it developed, changed and adapted as I worked through the ideas and planning. ‘Strawberry’ was an idea that pretty much grew out of encountering the strawberry and filming it one morning. The initial idea was the how the work took form. The performance had a more serious and vulnerable tone whereas ‘Strawberry’ was more playful and ironic.

I think what will help me with this work will be the people who attended my group crit and gave me their feedback. I think Katarina will help me situate this work in relation to other works. I think constructing my group report from the feedback I have received will be the way I understand more about what I want to achieve or to take forward from the performance.

My future work is going to stem from a diary voice note that I recorded at the end of last year. [what is the content of the note?] The work will most likely be a video but could be a performance. If it’s a video, I will use the text as a voice over and record it myself. I want to make the footage based around some of the images and visuals spoken about in the audio. I want it to have a similar hand-held camera filming style or possibly I should try out something else as I realise as I am writing this I’m quite stuck in my routine and I should probably try and screw things up a little. Maybe I will shoot some really neat, clean shots that would contrast [with] the tone of the text. I think I need to create some kind of juxtaposition or tension between language and visuals, which has been lacking in previous works. I will go back to the text and think about different ways to read it or perform it. And then maybe the tension can come from that rather than changing the way I film.

[Steve: Please could you give this the same descriptive detail as the section about 'shy girls']

I feel this work is the next instinctual stage in my making process. [can you talk more about the role of instinct/intuition?] It has been in the back of my mind for a number of months and I keep thinking about shots I can use. I think it’s necessary for me to not think too hard about why I am making it and hopefully through the making process links and connections to previous works will reveal themselves. This normally happens to me. I think it’s good for me to make this work without having a presentation moment in mind and to see my natural working mood without having the stress of a group crit (as I have done both the crits for year 1). I am excited to do some new shooting as I feel like I haven’t done any for a while. I want to have fun with this work. It feels a bit like visual poetry, which is exciting as I’ve not made any work quite like this before, or maybe I have, but not for a while.