My process for the epigraph was to really play with text design. The color that stuck out to me the most was the orange of the scene especially because the footage I was using was from a night scene in American Honey. I wanted to play with vertical text not only as a design element but as an experiment to see how well people can read vertical text especially against the backdrop of the moving image. The lines moving around alongside a quote about road films and characters on the road gave the text a feeling of being roads themselves following neat organization.
The Pechakucha video emphasizes how stylistically gorgeous American Honey is. The video lasts for just over a minute, but it is truly an emotional minute. Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” has transportive qualities that bring me back to the nostalgia that Summer creates. American Honey is an extremely Summery film and that beautiful sadness of having experienced something profound and beautiful but in the past is an overwhelming feeling that these shots help memorialize in their ten seconds of fame.
Before entering class I knew I wanted to address the allegations singer, dancer, artist, FKA Twigs, made against co-star of American Honey Shia Lebeouf. The allegations were truly difficult to hear because there was alleged sexual, emotional, and physical abuse in their one year relationship. There is a new interest for accountability in Hollywood with abusive celebrities and as a result there has been much discussion about how to regard art featuring such artists. I personally have a difficult time separating art and artists. I often find their allegations playing in my head as I watch them acting on screen. I wanted to capture that experience via the videographic form by juxtaposing FKA Twigs’s voice over a scene where Shia Lebeof’s voice would theoretically be the most prominent.
I loved the desktop format as a new medium to explore. A lot has changed because of COVID-19 and to no surprise we have moved virtually to minimize health risks. I found this newfound virtual isolation gave the desktop format a new intimacy and closeness. My story with American Honey and the pandemic felt inextricably tied together. I discovered the movie and found that it had stuck with me for over a year and an intense semester working with it because I had such a personal connection to the material. Therefore, the intimacy that the desktop video created and the intimacy of my own story with the film was the perfect way for me to accurately tell my story.
My final video essay has taken many shapes. I tried turning the film American Honey into an experimental film and a noir film both did not fully work. My latest version of the video is a music video using FKA Twigs’s song cellophane and clips from a TV segment talking about the abuse the singer endured from ex, Shia Lebeouf. Her album Magdalene which features the song “Cellophane ” is contextualized by FKA Twigs’s own trauma. The song is extremely beautiful and vulnerable. I knew I wanted to use that song and that context as the backdrop of this video. For the first time in my work I used the black frame as a parameter for editing. I wanted to cut shots up and either play a different scene underneath or just have emptiness. I think abuse sometimes holds that space of events not feeling perfectly strung together but rather flashes of trauma.