Experiment, Single channel video, Installation. 2018
In this documentary experiment I invited an international group of artists to reveal their thoughts and feelings about their private selves and their public image. We focused first on the points that they and their environment value in their character, and then on the points that they and their environment perceive as their weaknesses.
I recorded their confessions on audio, and later invited them to stand in front of themselves in the mirror, and listen to a continuous version of the same reports from an external speaker: first to group definitions of strengths, and then to group descriptions of weaknesses. While listening, I filmed their body language from the other side of the mirror they were looking at.
The final work presents an internal dialogue between the two types of self-perception of each participant: the strengths (on the right) and the weaknesses (on the left), and at the same time demonstrates, through body language, the way in which each participant is influenced by their inner ideas and self-perception.
Behind The Scenes
Participants talk immediately after their final session.
Filmed by Alex Forge
The presentation of self, usually in an attempt of creating a certain impression, is inevitably hiding essential parts of our traits, thoughts and feelings. These essential parts, which influence our behavior, often remain hidden, not only from others but also from our own consciousness.
The project You’re Gorgeous, You’re Mad is a process of discovery: Revealing people’s subconscious inner reflections, the reactions they provoke and the contradictions they form in each individual. By doing so I wished to create a more complex and whole image of one’s self-perception, bringing to life the repressed concepts and examining their impact on one’s emotions and behaviors.
I created this work during an Artist Residency program in Virginia, with a group of international artists. I started by inviting them to participate in a series of vocal confessions revealing how each individual perceives herself or himself, as well as how others perceive them. The sessions were recorded on audio and divided into two parts, one focusing on what each participant perceived as their strengths, and the other as their weaknesses. During these sessions, the voices of the participants were recorded, and subsequently edited into two short audio compositions.
Several days later, the participants were invited to a dark isolated space where they observed their own reflections in a two-way mirror. They heard their earlier confessions through a loudspeaker, which transformed their internal, secret thoughts into prominent “public” judgments. The Audio was divided into two segments: first, continuous declarations of their strengths, and later of their weaknesses. As they listened to their own voice and thoughts, I filmed their physical reactions from the other side of the mirror, forming two videos corresponding to the prior audio tracks recorded. The final work contains two video segments presented side by side, creating a dialogue between the participants' perceptions of their virtues (on the right side of the video) and their faults (on the left). One of the images is flipped, illustrating the difference between how the participants see themselves in the mirror and how they appear to an outer eye.
Thus the final work not only reveals one’s secret thoughts and believes regarding to who he or she is, but also presents an inner dialogue between two contradicting aspects of each individuals’ self-perception. The statements and judgments of the participants are a sample for some of the most common line-of-thought of our society, regarding to what makes someone worthy or unworthy of appreciation and acceptance.
The project was produced during the residency Experimental Film Virginia, in Cape Charles, Virginia, USA and includes participants from various countries. It was filmed in 2018, and edited in 2019.
Participants: Alex Forge, Cat Kneip, Chingi Chang Bigelow, Christina Ricucci, Eldar Baruch, Emmanuel Malette, Erin Romero, JP Stanley, Lucia Moretti, Marsell Chavarria, Nicole Lorah, Sonia Li, Wesley Swing.
The Work Process
I began the project by recording a series of audio interviews revealing how each individual perceives herself or himself. During these sessions, the voices of the participants were recorded.
The audio files of each participant, were edited into two short audio compositions, one for their desirable traits, and one for their opposites.
A few days after their audio interviews, I invited the participants to face a two-way mirror, while listening to their own recordings through a loudspeaker, which transformed their internal, secret thoughts into prominent “public” judgments.
As the participants listened, I filmed them and the expression of their body language, from the other side of the mirror.
In the final video work I placed the two segments of the video recordings side by side, creating a dialogue between the participants' perceptions of their virtues (on the right) and their faults (left).
One of the images is flipped, illustrating the difference between how the participants see themselves and how they appear to another’s eye.
Installation for visitors
An additional component of the project is an installation for visitors, where each visitor enters a dark room and faces her/his reflection in the mirror, while listening to audio containing direct comments about who he/she is.
The audio is taken from the original experiment and video, and alternates every 30 seconds between a concentrated cluster of strengths and weaknesses.
Installation at the group show “Fantasy” at the IPF, Tel Aviv, November 2019.
The work is presented as a video on a screen which is viewed through a window that was installed as part of a wall.