You're Gorgeous, You're Mad

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Every action, decision and even a word begins with an inner process of thought within the mind of the individual. Still, this manifold, complex mechanism of thoughts, believes and concepts, has yet to be unraveled by science. There is no doubt that it is a crucial factor to learn to observe these thoughts and their effects, though it is very challenging task and is not a skill that we normally learn.

 

I find these progressions of the human nature fascinating, and so I try to explore them through my art. In the project “You’re Gorgeous, You’re Mad” I look at the process of discovery: revealing people’s inner-reflections about themselves, from their subconscious, turning them into words, and the words - into vocal declaration which triggers physical reactions. By doing so I wished to create a more complex and whole image of one’s self-perception, bringing to life the repressed concepts, which impact their thoughts, feelings and behavior.

 

I started by inviting a group of international artists to attend a private, "confessional" session, during which they would share what they really think about themselves when no one else is watching, as well as how they assume they are perceived by others.

 

The sessions were recorded on audio and divided into two parts, one focusing on strengths or virtues, and the other on weaknesses. This division aimed to assist participants to present their authentic self-perceptions, despite the inherent contradictions. Admitting to both these aspects is widely considered to be socially unacceptable, perceived respectively as arrogant or unattractive. During these sessions, the voices of the participants were recorded, and subsequently, they were edited into two short audio compositions.

   

Several days after the audio recordings were made, I invited the participants to observe their images in a two-way mirror in a dark, isolated room. They heard their earlier confessions through a loudspeaker, which transformed their internal, secret thoughts into prominent “public” judgments. As they listened, their reactions, as expressed through their body language, were filmed from the other side of the mirror.

 

In the final video of this performance, 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 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 and how they appear to another’s eye.

 

While the two types of revelations are often contradictory and seem to reveal an inner schism, they also depict a certain similarity and proximity, as of two aspects or channels of the same basic current.

 

The work was created in Cape Charles, Virginia, USA, as part of the artist residency Experimental Film Virginia.

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.