During the month of September artcabin exhibited a single-screen work I made during my NHS Forth Valley art residency. Titled ‘Because, because ..’, it is a re-edited version of The Wizard of Oz. I’ve often used existing film and TV content in my screen-based art as I want to work with what is already familiar to audiences such as the language of TV shows or known characters and story lines in popular films. In this way, my reworking of the material can disrupt an audience’s expectations or prompt them to question what they think they already know. It is these kind of situations that lack clarity which I like to create and work within.
Dorothy particularly interests me as a fictional character, as does Judy Garland as a woman who experienced instability and blurred boundaries between her professional and personal life. In my version, we see no other characters but Dorothy. We can only see Dorothy’s reactions to events and characters around her with her responses made more intense and melodramatic, often bizarre as I loop and alter the material. As a looped piece, Dorothy is forever stuck in Oz. As the loop ends and Dorothy clicks her ruby slippers, her eyes open and she is still in Oz.
In ‘Because, because ..’ we experience the story through Dorothy’s reactions and the film’s original audio. The film becomes more intense and invasive regarding Dorothy’s private space as there are so many extreme close-ups on her. A character and plotline we think we know whether we have seen the film or not, needs to be reconsidered. The familiar becomes unfamiliar and essentially more complex.