Experimental Film no.1
installation Cambridge School of Art, UK
director + cinematographer Ann Evelin Lawford
This project, together with Experimental Film no.2.1 and no.2.2, aims to explore and expose the ways in which the media and patriarchal society have influenced our unconscious ways of seeing, and our pleasure in looking. It examines the exploitation of women and the representation of female sexuality, and questions erotic pleasure in imagery. More specifically, it intends to examine the line between when, and whether, a woman is seen as a sexual object or not.
The project aims to challenge established conventions, and conduct a rich investigation into the concept of presentation itself, concerning the sexual objectification of women. Experimental Film no.1 is presented as a ‘peep show’ of sorts, to be viewed alone by each individual viewer in complete isolation.
In the first of these ‘portraits’, Lawford places the camera in front of a woman, who shaves her pubic hair and masturbates in an intimate bathroom setting. She directed the woman’s actions, guiding her to ‘be herself’ in an effort to capture a performance that transcends mere voyeurism.
The film was presented as a single screen video installation in a small, dark room. The viewer was asked to enter alone, and stay there for as long or little time as they wished. Inside the room was a chair and table, upon which sat a TV displaying the video on a loop, a pair of headphones and writing materials. Viewers were asked to answer a series of questions, and provide any other comments anonymously. The feedback accrued from this process informed the project’s next phase and the following pieces, Experimental Film no.2.1 and no.2.2