After much work She… is finally finished. It’s been a bumpy road, and the piece has had numerous manifestations, some good, others bad, but most were down right ugly. Regrettably, I’m not someone who can make a plan and cleanly execute it. I envy such practitioners. Instead, I pursue an idea on a hunch or a hint of informed intuition, and the rest is up to simple trial and error. My internal directive was that I wanted to write a story about women in the news, and that narrative needed to be situated and implicated in those sources.
She…, is a collage of fact and fiction. The work weaves together seven stories of women in the news. Using html frames, a fictional narrative is edited between live web-pages from CNN, the BBC and other online sources. Capturing articles and online videos of women under media scrutiny, the work explores different female archetypes.
Told from the third person, She… is not meant to be an elaboration of the news, but rather an imagined scenario projected into the gaps of what is untold or unrepresented. While the news provides a public and mediatized context, the fiction casts the protagonists in an imagined moment of private self-reflection. In many respects, the story capitalizes on our inherent tendency to read between the lines, embellishing assumed facts with our own projections, prejudices and desires.
The women depicted range in type from an ambitious careerist, to the last of her kind, to an ageing femme fatale, to a guerrilla fighter on the verge of surrender. Many of the fictionalized characters hearken back to familiar historical, popular or literary figures such as Tennessee Williams’ Blanche DuBois, Disney’s Cinderella and Shakespeare’s shrew. These archetypes are rehearsed, re-invented and reiterated through the spectacle of modern media. Through hyperlink and a continuous soundscape, each protagonist’s story cinematically flows into another with the aim of revealing a composite character, the ultimate She who is the sum of her archetypes.
By the way, next week I will be reading parts of the work at the Electronic Literature Conference in Bergen Norway.