Project Polarity

CW: This film uses transphobic tropes and racial insensitive imagery.

Project Polarity, 2007. An experiment in Performance and Video. 

A polar bear is tossed through time and space, coming face to face with sinister forces.

This video was video graphed in one night, with Morgan Sea performing all the characters.

The footage was then edited for nearly nine months using final cut pro.


2014 – director’s commentary:

I wanted to post this video because aesthetically it’s pretty interesting, and it took a lot of experimentation to create. But honestly, there are parts of the film that make me cringe and i feel like i can’t help but elaborate upon them.

The opening shot is an animation off the HARRP facility in Alaska, which does something to supercharge the ionosphere, for the effect of weirding out conspiracy theorists. I also tie in a quick allusion to the Philadelphia project which the teleportation of a battleship. I wanted to talk about the indirect effects of weird science, and that’s really best told through teleporting a man-bear into unfamiliar settings.

The polar bear mask and the forest lamb creature costume were both provided by my new wife, Carla Coma. I believe the white dress belonged to her Mom, but I can’t confirm that. There’s some weird pursuit theme going on there. It’s possible the bear wants to ask for help but, like it could also be read as the bear chasing prey. If we gender the animals male-bear, female- lamb, shit gets weird quick.

The hospital scene has a weird run in with Aesthetica Pleaser, who is some kinda manifestation of my internalized trans misogyny. I made another film all about her, but basically the character is a perfectionist and a plastic surgery addict, and is sort of disgusted by our Bear-man. The whole thing falls into some kinda creepy transphobic body modifying trope, which I felt backed up my commitment to remaining of hormones and away from surgeries. But I think it was a sort of nasty kick to trans women who do seek surgeries. At this point I obviously recognize that it’s non of my business what other women do with their bodies and vice versa, but I guess at the time I was policing that decision and making gross remarks about something i didn’t understand.

After the bear escapes the surgery scene, he finds himself in a ritualistic dance of floating white wizards. The fuckers are an obvious allusion to the KKK. I grew up in Saskatchewan and had a fascination with hate groups, though never coming into contact with any. I found it totally weird that Saskatchewan had the largest KKK membership recorded, some 30,000 members in the 1920’s. What kind of effect did this have on the generations that raised me and everyone i knew? So these wizards show up in my movie and menace the protagonist, creating some kind of allegory about queer repression… but yeah that’s totally inappropriate. I mean, my struggle with oppression is pretty far removed from the horrors african american’s had to deal with at the hands of the klan and the violence of white supremacist ideology that still runs rampant. What sort of amazes me, is that in all the places this has screened, nobody has ever called me out on it. I had a professor tell me how impressed he was that i appropriated the images and made it into a dance. So, anyway, this has been a weird experiment in my own privilege as a white person, and i’m pretty disturbed by it.

The video ends by feeding my bear to a shark. Good.


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