all the girls in 3D

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all the girls in 3d was a 3-channel video projection project for the digital studies course Gender & Technology.

The process of creating all the girls in 3d was a long one: it started with filming in the greenscreen room, then my room in Davidson, as well in a makeshift space that I constructed in a backroom of my house in New York.

The largest take-away I got from the process was learning to trust in myself: there were many points throughout that I looked at the raw footage and was totally despairing, thinking that no matter how I edited it, it would never come close to looking and feeling how I wanted it to. It was also hard to tell in some moments what I needed to take — there were many cuts that made it into Terror that were possible because I was just messing around with taping basically B roll actions/sequences as back-ups (learning to rely on back-up footage was also a good lesson — it can sometimes look better than the intentional A footage). Also, taking care to produce solid raw footage is important, but just as important is the creative process afterwards. While I might have been, at first, freaking out about my footage, the process of editing transformed it and produced what I had really envisioned.

Flexibility is also important; I realized early on that my original vision for Princess was simply not going to work. The footage I did have I hated. She didn’t feel as over the top as I wanted her to. The footage of her was choppy and very high-movement, which didn’t match the lethargic, syrupy feeling of Sad Girl and the close-to-final incarnations of the the Terror. What surfaced for me in editing was the realizing of the hypnotic element of the two screens, and I wanted to infuse Princess’ portion with that as well. I ran with the same concepts that I had, just visually re-constructed (body parts, make-up, consumerism).

I was pleased that many viewers interpreted the three screens as very interconnected, even to the point of seeing Princess as the interior mind of Sad Girl and the Terror as fighting to fend off the consumeristic objectification of Sad Girl. It points to the way the three identities are so intertwined, at once individuals but also each other: is Princess Sad Girl? Is Sad Girl another version of Terror? Part of the power in this pieces lies in the ability to conflate and merge the flexibility of identity.

This process was also heavily propelled forward by the anonymous rapper, Spark Master Tape. Spark synths his voice so to keep his identity secret. He is a fusion of Texas screw with Dirty South (making it even harder to identify him), delivering swaggering power without resulting to tired motifs. I basically listened to these two songs on repeat for the entirely of the editing process. Spark signals for me the feelings of a tortured young adult, hanging on the precipice between teenagdom and adulthood, feeling smothered by a society that marginalizes you, steps all over you, and then acts surprised when you can’t pick yourself up: the feeling of being sucked into the collective while still desperately searching for a way to establish individual-hood (and maintain the power that comes with that). “My squad look like demons” followed by the crazed laughter in GAS is just one example of the frenzied fight to claw out a space for yourself. A large jump between gang violence and gender issues, but I think this pure emoting can also be applied to how many women feel in online spaces as they struggle within spaces whose underlying architecture has already decided for them what their identities will be (the eternal shopping, the social media maven, the Instagram biddie). Is the architecture of our environment creating us, or do we create ourselves? And what do we do when we realize the extent that the environment controls us?