Nikita Gale, SOME WEATHER (Heat), 2021
The singers in your film are unrecognizable, blurred out or manipulated to such a degree that their images exceed the scale of easy consumption. Could you tell us about your intentions here?
You’ve provided a fairly good answer within the question already. I’ve been very committed to questioning the processes by which images and certain kinds of performances become standardised and flattened in the interest of easy circulation and consumption. At the same time, the images wash over their surroundings, so the images are harder to pin down and consume while also shifting the tone of their atmosphere and surroundings. By making these images blurry or obscuring them through simulations of strange weather patterns, it creates a sense of there being a medium or some “thing” between the viewer and the image. And that idea of medium is an important one. Objects and ideas require mediums in order to circulate. Pierre Bordieu actually uses the term habitus to describe this idea of medium as it relates to culture. The habitus is the total set of conditions and embodied understandings that one cultivates overtime as a result of their cultural capital or environmental and social conditioning, and it’s this frame and atmosphere that determines how we perceive images and information.
In “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe,” Hortense Spillers offers a complex and thoughtful analysis of how the American grammar (symbolic system) insistently marks black females' flesh with a series of meanings that profoundly complicate their gendering. The dynamics that cause these tensions began with the transatlantic slave trade and the disruption of the familial bonds of black people. In this enforced movement, the father is (made) absent and the mother's bonds to her offspring (as well as the responsibility that comes with them) are no longer recognized. The arrangements from slavery, Spillers argues, transfer from one generation to the next, even if in disguise via "symbolic substitutions."
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