Matt Savitsky


Digital Short Film, 20:47 min, 2014

Life Under Glass is a short film I produced friend and pianist, Todd Moellenberg. Our fun of dressing up and performing together was adapted as a film subject. A crude stage set made in movable sections was used into the production of the video, shot entirely in a black box theatre. Opting to document our process rather than perform it live, I wished to evade narrative resolution and move the viewer up close to the surprising and banal moments our bodies exerted under the guise of theatricality.

Free from having to rehearse for the “real thing”, our performances take on a purpose closer to that of role play. Through games and simple task-based actions, we enacted shame, rejection, dependence and love. In this process, we try on various, rough personae that, at different times; pay tribute to their own campy existence; are dependent on stage and ambient lighting; and assert attitudes that reject obvious orientation.

Donning a mask is not always tied to a conscious need to ward off danger, but can be a highly imaginative state that works to offset the imposition of convention with an irrefutable self-design. Assuming roles – masks, abstracted figures, personae - strikes at the root of appearances. This queer tradition raises questions around the formation of identity by complicating the normative routes by which we recognize authenticity.

The non-narrative structure of the video in which uncertainties play out between the performers offers a metaphor to support the idea of conflicted presence. To transgress a tradition of inherited morals, the two stage humiliation games endorsed as routes to overcome inured behaviors and to, in fact, become closer friends.

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