Blue Crushed is my personal re-interpretation of the movie Blue Crush. It’s a two-part video installation consisting of a 47 minute reprise of the original film, as well as a short loop of the protagonist doing chin-ups forever. I’ve altered to movie to exclude anti-feminist content, and to take ownership over the portrayal of female empowerment through sport, solidarity, and friendship. For more, see my artist statement below, or do one better and head to Forest City Gallery for the Activation exhibit (includes this work) before October 18.
Music by Chromatics
The Feminist Film Project production Blue Crushed (2013) offers a non-utopic but optimistic depiction of story telling in a feminist domain. Erasing the patriarchy is a fraught and seemingly futile gesture, but opening up a space – even imaginary – where gender-based dominance and patriarchal norms are absent (especially in a space where they are expected) invites the viewer to question the appearance of these norms wherever they manifest. This work speaks to my interest in the resistance expressed by the presence of female bodies in spaces oriented toward status quo patriarchal norms – in this instance Hollywood Movies and “macho” sports. Blue Crush (2002) expresses a lot of tension between subjectivity vs. objectivity, self-objectification and identity. The film then undermines any clear feminist message through typical concessions to the patriarchy. Blue Crushed (2013) removes these concessions; our protagonist’s main concern becomes overcoming her trauma from a near-drowning incident, and to a lesser degree developing her relationship with her younger sister. I’ve also removed anti-feminist sentiments and scenarios that undermine our protagonist’s subjectivity. Inter-female competitiveness (rather than solidarity in common struggle) is taken out in favour of solidarity in sisterhood. Her friends are still allowed to call her out and encourage her to succeed, but depictions of female relationships as being conflict-centred are removed as I’ve judged them to be anti-feminist. I’ve also removed the love vs. personal success sub-plot; I felt this scenario too reinforces a myth that maintains patriarchal hegemony. Messages of sisterhood, empowerment through the presence of the physical body in sport, and confronting one’s own fears in order to succeed define Blue Crushed. The Feminist Film project will eventually consist of a small library of edited and re-imagined films. Blue Crushed is the first instalment.