Bitter Sea (After The Hunger)
Bitter Sea (After The Hunger) is a recent video installation, which was specifically created and installed for Platform Arts’ group exhibition ‘BLACK’. The triple channel video installation is a direct appropriation from a horror film. The video shows a short sequence taken from The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983). Captured from the film but manipulated, the video recreates the film's previously fragmented shot-reverse-shot sequence into a single shot of the main character Miriam (Catherine Deneuve), and the image is reverse-looped so that the Miriam's body continuously dissolves and becomes embodied again - infinitely. The installation is set up so that there are three TV monitors positioned in a triangle, the screens face upwards (to mirror Miriam’s fall so that the audience looks down on her, creating the physicality of bodily movement by the audience) and each screen repeats the same video at different times.
Discussing the paused or looped image from films, Laura Mulvey notes that: ‘The fetishistic spectator becomes more fascinated by image than plot, returning compulsively to privileged moments, investing emotion and “visual pleasure” in any slight gesture, a particular look or exchange taking place on the screen.’ She believes that this action of narrative subversion creates a ghostly and haunting trace of reality. It becomes a fetishistic wound, and this way of looking ‘emasculates’ narrative structure, so that it becomes metaphor for a ‘fragmented, even feminized, aesthetic of cinema.’ (Mulvey, Death 24x A Second) This video attempts to capture this feminized narrative subversion and provide a new way of exploring the female body. Instead of death, Miriam's squirming body on the floor strangely alludes to a sense of blurred orgiastic pleasure - the video arouses an allusion to the French term for orgasm, la petit mort. Thus the ghostly and looping imagery of Miriam's body captured in Bitter Sea endeavors to explore the constantly fluctuating presences and absences of female desire.