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Oriana Fox

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video still from Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2003
video still from Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2003
With a mixture of sarcasm and sincerity, my videos replay scenes from my own life through kitsch characters and cultural clichés, addressing wider issues of femininity, identity and autobiography. In my earliest videos, Our Bodies, Ourselves and Tale of Narcissus (2003), I took the soundtracks from excerpts of the TV show
Sex and the City and recreated the episodes playing all the parts myself and setting it in the 1970s. Lip-synching to lines from the show’s original dialogue, I integrated 70s feminist art practice into the contemporary representation of independent women in order to question both notions of femininity and how they impacted
on me.

video still from All My Life, 2007
video still from All My Life, 2007

In my most recent work I have tried to escape the shallow aspects of the movies and television and what they have kept telling me about who I was and what I wanted. Relinquishing appropriation almost altogether in favour of a more original form of expression, my film Excess Baggage (2007), embarks on a physical and emotional journey through the city of Marseille. Telling an allegory of a woman who can't make even the most trivial of decisions, including which chocolate to eat or what pair of underwear to put on, Excess Baggage attempts to bridge the gap between the banality of TV, the sentimentality of Hollywood love stories and the earnestness of the early cinematic avant-garde. Beginning in the style of an American psycho-pharmaceutical advertisement, the visual and verbal language becomes increasingly genuine and personal.

One of my more recent videos, All My Life (2007), is part coming-of-age story, part personal mythology. In it I recreate dance scenes from films such as Dirty Dancing, Grease and Saturday Night Fever with myself as the heroine. A soundtrack based on a positive affirmation self-help tape and autobiographical anecdotes tells the story of the evolution of my choice of love objects. Influenced by the ubiquitous subtexts of synthetic experience, the artist/dancer in All My Life asks, "Is this my life, or is this a film? Am I growing and becoming, or am I just listening to a self-help tape?" When all is said and done she asks, does the voiceover of self-help in our heads guide our dance, or is it the other way around? Do the mind and the body move in sync or symbiotically step on each other's toes? Through identification and embodiment I give depth to the most superficial of characters, and I become the star of my own Hollywood movie.
video still from Excess Baggage, 2007
video still from Excess Baggage, 2007

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