I am searching for the moment of transition where when wearing red lipstick while walking down the street I suddenly become an object for viewing, and is this a changeable reality?
I make films and videos and perform within them. My engagement with the lens is an intimate performance as I control the entire shooting process, but as a result the lens is also distant and isolated as it is the only Other present. I work in this dynamic specifically to examine the portrayal of women and femininity in cinema—how the cinema has fragmented female identity, specifically my own. I perform multiple characters for my camera in order to manifest the multitude of facets cinema proposes as feminine. This multitude is represented as a set of three characters divined from psychoanalysis or a singular character that is visually multiplied on screen or composited from aesthetics referential to cinema’s idealized woman.
I also break down the habitual cinema structures that imprison femininity. I am interested in the gaze of the camera as objectifier and how the close-up disembodies and symbolically fragments the female star. The cut is my tool for opening up the interstitial and freeing the woman from the object gaze. Often I utilize time and motion (speed adjustments in editing or holding a still pose) to suspend the construct, the female star in the very unreality of cinema, in order to foreground the moments that evince objectification.
My work therefore is a gathering of cinematic fragments of myself, but by extension also the gathering up of the entire category of female identity, which continues to suffer from the codifying of the feminine image in popular culture. I find instability in women using sex and sexiness for empowerment, there is a conflict as women continue to become sex objects despite their “owning it” on the screen, in art, and in the streets. I am searching for the moment of transition (the cut) where when wearing red lipstick (close-up) while walking down the street I suddenly (freeze frame) become an object for viewing (the gaze), and is this a changeable reality?
Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli – New York New York