Other as Spectacle
My final Master's project, Other as Spectacle: Women, Queerness, and the Male Gaze, aims to explore the alienation of LGBTQ individuals unable to fit into the specific gender roles and relationships that society expects of them.
The intention of this project is to make the audience aware of their own relationship with the male gaze, and how they perpetuate the social expectations of heterosexuality and the objectification of women. Social alienation is one of the many factors that contributes to LGBTQ individual’s struggle with mental health. The study LGBT people and suicidality in youth shows that the factors that contribute to suicidal behavior among LGBT youth include homophobia, social isolation, substance abuse, and parental and sexual abuse (Rivers 1). Many of these experiences continue to be a factor in the LGBT experience well into adulthood. To counter social alienation specifically, it is important to change social expectations of what people should be and to break down our limited concepts of gender and sexuality.
This project aims to explore the power of the male gaze, and specifically how the expectations of a male gaze have an impact on the queer community. I have been inspired by precedents where women have used horror, a genre largely established by men to express a woman’s personal experiences of living within restrictive social expectations.
This work will be an interactive experience that will put the user in the position of being othered by the male gaze. The viewer will face their own reflection in a mirror, and witness as their image is distorted into that of a “monster,” forcing them into the position of the other. The viewer will play the role of the spectacle, their reflection on the screen slowly morphing into the figure of a monster as the characters on the screen gawk at them. The project will be set up by projecting onto a one-way mirror. A kinect will be used to read the user’s position and movement. The interactive elements will be built with TouchDesigner.
Rivers, Ian, et al. “LGBT People and Suicidality in Youth: A Qualitative Study of Perceptions of Risk and Protective Circumstances.” Social Science & Medicine, vol. 212, 2018, pp. 1–8., doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.06.040.