Video Installation – 1 projection (8min 30sec loop) + 15in monitor (5min loop)
Cover Story is a video installation in which a formless, blurred shape is projected onto a black rectangle on the wall of a dark space. After a couple of minutes this shape gradually resolves into a human face, but it has no clear features or identity. The blurred face is a formless, visceral image that defies language and resists classification. It functions like a blank canvas onto which the viewer can project an imagined face for the narrated subject. In this work narratives of difference are separated from the visible signs of difference in order to interrogate the connection that is sometimes made between a deformed face and a deformed identity.
Beside the projection a black and white head and shoulders shot of a woman is shown on a small monitor. She is seen recounting the personal experiences of someone who, it seems, has a facial abnormality, but her voice is not heard. Her words are articulated through exaggerated facial gestures and in the form of subtitles. This narrator is actually a sign language interpreter, whose job it is to articulate the meaning and sentiment of spoken language through facial gesture. Even if we cannot hear the sound of her voice, we can see what she is saying. Whilst her highly expressive face appears somewhat unusual, it displays no visible signs of the differences that are implied in the account she is giving. There is a clear disjunction between the appearance of the face of the person shown on the monitor and the narrative text that unfolds on the screen. By reducing the spoken word to text, the work also draws attention to the disjunction between information conveyed through language, and the visible signals conveyed by the face.
Cover Story was made with the help of five women who have severe facial deformities – genetic or acquired. The narrative in the work is a compilation of excerpts from interviews with these women, edited to appear as one seamless monologue.