Just as an aside before I plunge back into With The Light and points of audition, my helpful tutor set me on a trail that led me here.
To me, it seems to be a meditation on the constant observing, self-observation and being observed that is a staple of existence as a woman, and on the feedback loop between these observations and our projected identity.
I have often thought about how the lines get blurred in our heads between this projected identity and the autonomous identity that we would otherwise derive from our core of personality. I think Tai Shani might be looking at how the make and break of female identity depends on how we are observed – particularly the conclusions people draw solely from our appearance – and how confusing it can be to try to identify our authentic responses to what we experience.
In the end, the withdrawal of male scrutiny, the lack of identity bestowed, ‘kills’ the real being – and the watchers too! And yet the scrutiny continues.
Difference in male and female experiences of identity, how we are respectively perceived and how we respond accordingly are definitely an area I could explore!
Strange and dream-like though this art is, I picked up a few concrete technical ideas that I really liked.
- One is the way this artist deliberately blurs lip-syncs. This to me conveys quite nicely the interruption of language communication by social anxiety, poor communication, disrupted social expectations, emotive states, people communicating with opposing agendas, or any number of interesting phenomena within dialogues.
- Similarly, she often ‘mis-points’ the camera away from speaker to confuse who is the speaker and who is the hearer, whether the voice is external or internal.
- Sometimes, the wrong person is issuing the words. It is as though the man looking on the corpse (for example) has become a voice in the woman’s head indistinguishable from her own – another phenomenon I thoroughly recognise from personal experience.
- Another device I liked is the alteration of the sound quality of the opening music as we switch between points of view.