Sara Brannan’s work is about gendered spectatorship and female identification in cinema. Using films in the public domain, Brannan identifies and singles out the female ‘lead’ characters. The artist then edits together footage of the female lead alone in the frame, while the rest of the film is removed. The images are edited together to run consecutively, following the chronological order of the original film.
This re-editing interrupts the patriarchal narrative structure and makes visible the usually invisible editing that is demanded by realism.
The presence of women is an indispensable element of spectacle in normal narrative film, yet their visual presence tends to work against the development of a storyline. The woman is on display, to be looked at and to provoke rather than represent. She functions as an erotic object on two levels: for the characters within the screen story, and for the spectator within the auditorium.
By removing the male protagonist, Brannan transfers the gaze solely to the spectator, which intensifies our own scopophilic position. The female character is left looking passive, vulnerable, and unstable.
About the Artist
Sara Brannan (b 1971) graduated in 2009 with a MA in contemporary fine art from Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Since then she has exhibited widely both nationally & internationally. Recent exhibitions include Scopophilia (The Art House, Wakefield, UK), Outcasting: Fourth Wall festival (Cardiff, Wales) and Group 2012 (WW Gallery, London, UK). Other exhibitions include Creekside Open (London, selected by Phyllida Barlow), Orebo International Videoart Festival (Sweden) and Catapult (Urbis, Manchester, UK).
Brannan lives and works in Sheffield, UK.
Image courtesy the artist.
FLAT OUT is a bi-weekly rotating video series curated by Nicole Bebout. For the series, new works by emerging and experimental artists from across the globe are displayed on a LCD screen mounted at the entrance of AC Institute.