Beauty tutorials are intended to offer inspiration and lightweight diversion. Using my roommate as my model and a humble front-facing iPhone camera, I created a different take: a makeup tutorial from hell. My subject exists in a cycle of applying, removing, and then reapplying makeup ad infinitum. Whether she enjoys or dreads the process is deliberately ambiguous. It is at first captivating to watch but then gradually becomes unbearable, thanks in part to the music of The Haxan Cloak. Above is the result of our efforts: All Dress Up With Nowhere to Go.
The short video was made as the final project for a Brandcenter class, Creative Thinking. The assignment was to create something using a piece of performance art as inspiration. I chose the work of choreographer Damien Jalet, who staged a modern dance performance at the Louvre in 2013, "Les Médusés" ("The Jellyfish"). In the piece, a trio of semi-nude female dancers rotates in an expanding and contracting triangle in brusk, staccato movements. Encircled by imposing Hellenistic statues, they activate the space.
Its meaning is complicated, but Jalet has said he, in part, wanted to address the male gaze in art. Women—their bodies, beauty, and power—are celebrated throughout the museum but typically through patriarchy's confines. The rope costumes of the dancers suggest women caught in a web. The expanding and contracting triangular formation implies push and pull. To modernize the context, I thought of women's relationships with their beauty today. They construct and accentuate their identities through makeup, but I wondered how much of this is the result of free will. Women, and all people, operate within the expectations of gender.
Score — "Dieu" by The Haxan Cloak
Inspiration — "Les Médusés" by Damien Jalet