Paraphernalia 2010 and fallingame 2013

The title ‘Paraphernalia’ refers to the original meaning of the word as a woman’s belongings not included in her dowry. The film is a pastiche that uses theatrical devises and humour to explore the role-play inherent in the politics of gender.The film is set in a Victorian house and adjacent lane. There are two characters, one male and one female. The actors wear elaborate costumes which reference the world of vaudeville and the carnavalesque. The sculptures and props play an integral role in the film by generating an occult or mythical dimension and contribute to the ‘B’ movie feel.

Paraphernalia (Digital film 8mins 10 seconds) completed in 2010 is the outcome of a specific research project funded through a research and development grant from the Scottish arts council in 2008. This project explores the role of expressionism as language in re-engaging with issues of gender and role play in a post feminist context .The film Paraphernalia was the culmination of a range of research methodologies including drawing, sculpture, ceramics, installation, costume making/ design, script writing. The film was shown as part of the Glasgow International Festival curated by Katrina Brown in April 2010. It was screened/ exhibited at one of the bespoke outsourced venues in The Trongate area of Glasgow city-centre established by GI for the duration of the festival.

The title ‘Paraphernalia’ refers to the original definition of the word in Roman law, meaning a woman’s belongings not included in her dowry. Borrowing the styles of composition, lighting and mood from German expressionist cinema, the film seeks to use this form to examine the role-play inherent in social hierarchies and the politics of gender. Effectively it ‘uses’ expressionism to reengage with the themes of seminal feminist artists of the 70s. However in the process it both interrogates expressionism (as in Hal Fosters notion of the ‘expressive fallacy’) and challenges accepted notions of feminist practice.

fallingame digital 4min  58 sec (2013)

 

Synopsis

A group of children play on the hillside they appear to participating in a ritual or dance. The illusion almost collapses as the children begin to laugh and their positions falter. The introduction of the masks generates an occult or mythical dimension revealing a darker parallel world. There is no dialogue although fragments of an Old Catholic rhyme are repeated intermittently. Essentially though fallingame has a narrative the short work expresses rather than explains. The rural Scottish landscape and costumes suggest romantic and gothic undercurrents. Although the fallingame borrows from early 19th centaury cinema in terms of staging and monumental composition. The film is more akin to pastiche, mimicking the aesthetics of 60s British horror films a part of my own childhood.

fallingame was part of a group exhibition ‘State of Un-Play’, Bucharest, Romania. July 2013,Inaugural ArtLacuna film Festival, London May 2013,5th Cairo Video Festival ,Sept 2013.