Electric Lady Land

Image credit: Pippa Brabyn

Electric Lady Land is a video installation comprising CGI footage I captured from the chat software IMVU, found footage from YouTube, and ‘real-life’ footage captured myself. The installation element includes a faux fur zebra print rug (used here as an indicator of feminine luxury), furry pink cushions and a neon blue light-up wire strewn across the rug. There was also a wooden bench for extra seating although my intention was for most viewers to take a seat on the rug to enjoy the texture.

Image credit: Pippa Brabyn

The video has no narrative as such but follows a succession of scenes showing city lights at night, beach and mountain scenes and a pink rabbit in a pink zebra print dress dancing, sipping cocktails and playing with a beach ball. The jazz-funk classic ‘L.A. Night’ by Yasuko Agawa plays as a backdrop.

The heavily edited visuals shift seamlessly from scene to scene; the twinkle of the sea melts into the neon lights of a city, the sunset becomes a tropical blue sky, which shifts through the colours of the rainbow to become nightfall. Viewers described the video as ‘hypnotic’, which reflects my intention for the piece to be a relaxing and enchanting experience, producing a joyful affect within the viewer. It was created intuitively along the basis of what felt good or ‘right’ to me. The blend of computer graphics and ‘real’ footage serves to bring the virtual into the realm of the non-virtual world, blurring the boundaries and making the avatar more tangible. The installation element is an extension of the video in both aesthetics and intention.

Image credit: Rita Castanheira

I wanted to play with representation in this piece of work; previously my work has featured a direct representation of my own image, which I replaced this time with the pink, bucktoothed rabbit. The lack of a human character displaying any overt ethnicity allows for an element of playfulness, and perhaps a greater degree of universality – things that a direct portrayal of myself may not allow for. The character has no name at this stage and in this work serves purely as a vehicle for the viewer to experience the ‘experience’. The hyperfemininity of her colour palette (‘Barbie pink’) and cartoonish design, choice of outfit and her proportions are reminiscent of a doll a young girl may play dress up with- or of a video game character. Much of my work holds elements of nostalgia such as this, containing fragments of the formative years of millennial women like myself.

Image credit: Pippa Brabyn

The work was a part of the group show P@55w0rD, and shared an exhibition space with the show’s bar. This strategic juxtaposition was successful in that the bar reflected the footage portrayed early on in the video and contributed to the ‘lounge’ atmosphere of the viewing space. A less successful element of the installation was the decision to project the video onto a simple flat wall, especially as it did not fill it. The video is reminiscent of footage that may be looped on a screen in somewhere like a nightclub and this could have been better articulated. I also could have better created a more luxurious environment in the sense that the large space was not well-covered by the rug, and that a smaller, cosier and more separate space would have served the work better. I could also have thought about other items that could have been placed into the space to fabricate meaning.

Image credit: Rita Castanheira