May. 1st, 2017

pearwaldorf: amy pond likes the snow. and scarves. (dw - amy snow)

A friend on Tumblr reblogged this video, which was directed by Kristen Stewart. She mentioned that the video is full of queer gaze, and I would agree. In addition to being a very well-crafted music video, it just screams "I was made by a woman, a queer one." I love how it's very consciously un/obtrusive, observant without being voyeuristic. But the way it lingers on Lauren Mayberry's hands, how she presses her fingers to her mouth or twines the headphone cord, there's definitely something the person behind the camera wants to draw attention to. I love the little bit at the end, where Mayberry finally deigns to notice the camera/observer.

This video is very much an exemplar of what Anne Helen Petersen calls the female glance:
Unlike the steady, obsessive gaze, the glance is sprawling, nimble: not easily distracted so much as a constantly vigilant. It scans, it flits, it spins — or, alternately, it observes, with patient detail, the moments of a woman’s world that often go unnoticed...

The female glance is deeply attuned to textures, to shades of light. You can feel the temperature of the bodies around you, the anxiety and claustrophobia or, alternately, the expansiveness and delight. It’s an almost synesthetic mode of filmmaking, focused not on plot, or narrative, but the capacity of an image to convey a feel. It forces identification with, and empathy for, the way women experience the world — an experience that’s often marked by passive observation and the rhythms of the domestic world. Scenes shot in this way can feel paranoiac, distracted, and disjointed, but that’s just the reality of living in a world where your body, your value, your power is constantly surveilled. If the male gaze disassembles and disempowers, then the female glance puts that world back together on its own terms.
There's great power in artistic vision, and the way one asserts it. If this is what Kristen Stewart has in store as a director, I look forward to so much more.