#3

W.I.P. 

Way back, when I was an undergrad studying Photography, my mentor and professor, Linda Adele Goodine, asked me one question which ultimately transformed my way of thinking about art.

 

Ends Meet, Still from Video, currently work in progress. 2017.

Ends Meet, Still from Video, currently work in progress. 2017.

Looking back I’m surprised that someone had to shake me in this way, but nevertheless.

In the basement of Herron School of Art and Design sat the Photography lab. It was late, I think, but hard to tell when you haven’t greeted the sun all day. A handful of us were selected for a special exhibition that would culminate in a scholarship. We were all in the basement scrambling to finish up our pieces and install them in the gallery.

Don’t judge, but I had grabbed my frames from Walmart…they looked okay, I thought.

Adele came down to check on our progress. She quickly looked past my work, whipped her head around, and stared at me with a wash of disappointment. She asked “Desireé. Would you cut off your baby’s leg?”

The way she said it was so sincere, and flat. She was serious.

In shock, I blurted “No, of course not!”

She replied, “Well, that’s what you’ve done.”

She was right. I had created work that I was proud of, that I had labored over and my nonchalance about the presentation of that work destroyed its potential.

Even now, as a Video artist, presentation considerations are still crucial to the works I make.

For example, one film is supposed to be shown at the Drive-In, a triptych of videos are shown on 3, 11-inch white tube televisions, another video is shown on a 11-inch tube TV with a clear housing, another 5-channel film is shown on 5 flat screen monitors in a U shape around a singular stool.

 

Ends Meet, documentation of installation, currently work in progress. 2017.

Ends Meet, documentation of installation, currently work in progress. 2017.

From a conceptual level, the ways in which women present themselves differently in various scenarios as an effort fulfill the many roles we are expected to perform drives this project. To compartmentalize ourselves is innate, perhaps, ingrained. I wonder if this daily performance of an individuals’ many selves begins to erode the true nature of her identity. I wonder how many women are asking, Who am I?

Ends Meet, is based on this curiosity. And the foundation of presentation, both in content and execution, challenges me to develop a work that is intentionally rooted in form as well.

 

 

Ends Meet, documentation of installation, currently work in progress. 2017.

Ends Meet, documentation of installation, currently work in progress. 2017.

Ends Meet is currently in progress. The documentation here may or may not reflect what will be presented for the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artists Exhibition in October. 

The following images are documentation of tests done in my living room, hence the blinds.

#2

COLLECTIONS

I collect stories, memories, and moments.

I do not subscribe to the romantic notion of the creative genius - the inspiration to create is a calculated choice.

For me, inspiration has to do with observation and because I create characters, every person is a potential muse. Much of my art practice is listening, watching, and encouraging tales to be told. Lengthy, tangent-stricken conversations lead to memories not necessarily deemed important but usually the most insightful.

The telepathy between best friends, the transformative qualities of a gesture or phrase out of context, the countless little things we do alone we don’t dare admit, and the hiccups in propriety after intimate confessions are just a few of moments I’ve collected.

My notes from years ago may mashup with a sight or sound from a minute ago. I work the pieces and manipulate their edges until they fit together and a character is born. 

Of course, artwork is inspirational too. I am currently on pins and needles after watching Chantal Akerman’s 3 hour study of a mother.

Chantel Akerman

…I collect things too. In some ways these things, out in the world, give form to feminine experience I’m trying to understand. Here is a recent acquisition I can't keep my eyes off of.

Just a normal advertisement. It's no secret. 

Just a normal advertisement. It's no secret. 

#1

BACKSTORY

While I didn’t expose this connection until recently, it is clear to me that my practice, the way I make films, all has to do with a cardboard box full of photographs (more on this in future posts).

Still from Over and Under and Through, 22:04, currently on view at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota. 

The physicality of the photograph has always attracted me.  The worn edges, the illegible script, the awfully wonderful candid compositions. It was my mother’s way of storing her memories that had a great affect on me.

Under her bed, in an unassuming white cardboard box were hundreds of photos thrown haphazardly.

Still from Over and Under and Through, 22:04, currently on view at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota.

The only photographs framed and on view were of recent, tangible events. But in the box, were images from my mom’s past life - the one before me. In one photograph, she is twenty in New York with only the caption “see graffiti” and in the next, her hair is feathered with glasses consuming her face topped off by a peculiar smirk.  And others, too complex for me to understand at the time. Impulsively, I began to fit images together like a jigsaw puzzle trying to establish a timeline. The gaps between snapshots allowed me to envisage a narrative, albeit full of non-truths and unrealistic leaps.

While the reason I make films has to do with my mother. Robin, clashed with familiar feminine stereotypes but she was not immune to them either. As the only parent in my world, the traits commonly associated with male and female co-mingled in her changing my perception and also my acceptance of these established expectations.

Still from Over and Under and Through, 22:04, currently on view at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota.

I have had the opportunity to work on several large scale film productions only to be met by such compliments as  “I hope you’re here tomorrow, we need something to look at” and when hired as 1st AC the Director of Photography refused to let me hold the camera rig and instead handed it to a male lighting grip (which is definitely not how it works).

Filmmaking is my medium because I’m not supposed to be behind the camera. A woman's role has traditionally been in front of the camera with soft focus, a hair light, and performing a character written by a man. Unfortunately, growing up girls establish their own sense of self through these very characters on film. The male gaze stretches far and wide.

The male gaze and that method of looking at and thinking of women trickles down to all us - including me.

My films depict the intimate spaces that girls and women inhabit together to reveal aspects of femininity not necessarily beautiful or desirable but instead sincere. My characters too, are granted with a keen sense of awareness of their subject hood and force the viewer to reconcile their thoughts and expectations from frame to frame.

Still from Over and Under and Through, 22:04, currently on view at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota.

Still from Over and Under and Through, 22:04, currently on view at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota.

When they tell you to smile, bare your teeth.

Desireé Moore

Desireé Moore is film, video and media artist based in St. Petersburg, FL. She uses film and the nuance of time, color and play to dissect the roles and representations of women. Her films have shown nationally and internationally in theaters, drive-ins, and museums. Currently, her work is on view at the John and Mable Ringling Museum as a part of the Skyway exhibition. Moore has collaborated as the Director and Editor of What the Bringback Brought, the debut film project by artist Trenton Doyle Hancock. The Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Grant will assist in the production of new video work and elements of presentation to culminate in Moore's first solo exhibition by years' end.