PLEASE SEE VIDEO HERE >> https://vimeo.com/147268974
I have chosen to wear a unitard that is the same colour as my skin in order for the focus to be on my body but also to replicate the 'one-colour' scheme of hellenistic sculptures. Also, the nude colour represents skin and being naked and revealing myself, a common theme that is addressed in Greek Mythology. It also shows the fact that i have breasts and male genitals in a way that is not too graphic or distracting, but still giving the effect of exposure. It also helps to show the movement of my muscles and how the lines of my body react to my movement which is interesting to see in slow motion, the muscles tensing shows the feeling of physical struggle which I would like to relate to the struggles experienced in possessing qualities of both male and female.
I wear a prosthetic penis under my unitard to create the elusion of male genitals. It is quite representative and so feels real, helping me to get into character. At first I thought this would distract the audience away from the piece itself but it has proven to be effective and subtle.
HALF LONG/HALF SHORT HAIR
I style my hair long at the front and short at the back (I put in extensions at the front). This contrasts with my body features; You can see the male genitals at the front but from the back I look totally female so I thought that I would use short hair at the back to make my gender identification more ambiguous. The long hair down adds an interesting contrast to the movement. For example, when I float backwards and move my head right back very slowly, my hair suddenly drops which almost acts as a full stop onto my movement. I also find that it legitimises the slow motion by this contrast.
To reinforce the idea of revealing myself and being naked.
Here are some still shots of me performing my piece. I took photos of the sheet that I painted with foundation (make up) in different scrunched up positions as a response to the sketches I have done to express my interest in Greek drapery and its meaning. I chose to overlay the still images onto the photos of the sheet in order to see how my body positions interacted with the shapes and shadows made by the scrunched up sheet.
I think they are effective in that they capture how i feel and how i want to be portrayed in an imaginary sense when I'm performing. It brings a visual sense of weight and surroundings affecting my direction and flow of movement.
Here are some photo edits of some shots I got from my run through yesterday. I used the liquefy tool to morph my body into a more exaggerated version of the positions that I am achieving. It gives a clear indication of the direction of the inner and outer forces on my body.
It is interesting how the masculinity and femininity of the body position changes when the positions are shown from 3 different angles. It gives the viewers a 3 dimensional perspective of the sculptural take on positions from the paintings, bringing these moments fixed in time into motion and a multitude of perspectives for closer analysis.
It makes me question whether the sculptures were made based on actual people present in time, a lot of the positions are often quite uncomfortable, unnatural and quite physically compromising. It is also interesting how when the positions are recreated in performance they have the ability to portray the opposing forces and confusion of both the anima and animus (biologically this can be found in hormone imbalance also) in the modern hermaphrodite person.
My choreographic method so far has been the travel at a sustained speed through checkpoints, being the positions of Hermaphroditus portrayed through sculptures adn fied images in paintings. The aim has been to keep a constant slow-motion speed throughout, portraying the sense of morphing between the positions and performing a series of shapes that include a mixture of movements - some associated with females and others with males. I want the style of the piece to look quite awkward and confused. I aim to do this by isolating body parts to perform different gender specific movements. For instance, I portray the female version of a statue pose by isolating my hips towards my arm which is supinated in the lateral plane with a floating quality, followed by the same position of the arm but with the strong contraction of the bicep, showing muscular, masculine quality in contrast.
This awkwardness and confusion comes from my empirical research on the struggles of growing up as a hermaphrodite via documentaries on the subject. While I'm moving I aim to visuals the mindset and emotion that I am portraying. While I'm moving between checkpoints, I consider the idea of being brought up not being able to apply biological diagrams to my own body, having embarrassing conversations with my parents about my genitals, discussing the possibility of surgery to change my body to be gender specific. In this sense, I am addressing a modern issue using historical imagery but characterisation based on what I have learned about life as a Hermaphrodite.
I would like to add more of a visualisation/sense of narrative to the piece. On the next run, I want to carry out the choreography from a more psychological approach - making the physically opposing forces in my movements and positions represent a dominant animus and a dominant anima, aiming to visualise these unconcious archetypes. This would be an interesting experiment because Hermaphroditus is a classical symbol of bisexuality and sexual ambivalence - possessing the equal presence of both the anima and animus. Baring this in mind, I would like to see how this changes how I move between the checkpoints.
Here are some videos of the rehearsal process that I have chosen to speed up. It is interesting to see the progression of the piece. Especially when done backwards.
At this point, each time I do it, I am still allowing a little scope for improvisation and change of the movements. After each performance i take note of what worked visually and what felt good and natural to perform. The structure is coming together more clearly; I am slowly stripping back the movements to fewer stronger movements in a set order to create a coherent and clearly structured piece that shows progression as opposed to random movements all put together without much thought. This is the point where I am slowly starting to lay down objective rules to the piece and working with the material that I already have, as opposed to adding in extra things.
I have found that simple ways of developing the movements such as changing the direction/level are most effective as they connote a subtle but significant progression in the piece which is important for the viewer to make sense of it. Hence why some parts are developed and are performed standing up and kneeling down.