Ross School - Senior Projects 2010
Mentor: Alexis Martino
Title: Revealing The Veiled Voices
Description: For my Senior Project I created a photo essay visually expressing the emotions of oppressed women and girls in our developing world. Through my images I explored the anger, the isolation, and the incredible sense of futility these women face, and depicted my interpretation of their pain through carefully chosen metaphors, alluding to the psychological and cultural aspects that shaped these women. My project was created in an attempt to raise awareness that, contrary to popular belief, women around the globe today are still abused, dismissed, and discriminated against, some overtly, others subtly. My goal is to reveal the Veiled Voices who cannot represent themselves.
For My Senior project I created a Quicktime video of photographic stills titled Revealing the Veiled Voices that portrays the emotional story of a Rwandan woman who suffered terror, sorrow, and abuse. Through literal and conceptual images that I photographed, I explored and expressed the anger, sadness, isolation, and incredible sense of futility and hopelessness many women across the world face. My interpretation of this unimaginable pain is channeled through my metaphors, alluding to the psychological and cultural aspects that shaped these women.
Last year, as I was researching online the lack of women’s rights in third world countries for a history essay, I discovered an appalling news story that rocked me to my core. In September 2008, three female Pakistani teenagers, aged sixteen through eighteen, were kidnapped and shot by members of their tribe for refusing to participate in arranged marriages. When two elder females rushed to their aid, they were also shot and buried alive with the three young girls in a pit of mud and stones. Reading on, I learned that the Pakistani police eventually pardoned the men who were guilty of this offense. As I pondered the intense fear and desperation that many women face, I wondered, "How is it fair that I am respected as an intelligent female, while other girls of similar age are being brutally murdered?" I was not okay with this. That winter evening I promised myself that I would try my best to raise awareness for these forgotten women who unfortunately live in places where they cannot thrive unhindered.
I wanted to create a visual vehicle that would portray the emotional and psychological elements of oppressed women whose cultures prevent them from telling their stories. I hoped to raise awareness that women of all ages across the sworld are still abused, and discriminated against, some overtly, others subtly. I believe I accomplished this though a series of powerful, provocative images that ignite in the viewers feelings of anger, sadness, isolation and futility. My project is concept based and more about portraying the emotions these women felt during their experiences rather than literally trying to show their stories. Through my images, I depicted my interpretation of their pain through carefully chosen metaphors and visual icons.
My original plan for my final product was to hang 20 of my best still images in the gallery opening. However, once I started looking through all my work, I decided it might be more interesting and effective to use these evocative photos in a Quicktime video created through Final Cut Pro. My final product ended up being a video of my images, along with a narration and voiceovers. I was fortunate to find one piece called “Intended Consequences” that was extremely powerful and inspiring. This series of videos tells the stories of 16 Rwandan women who were brutalized during the genocide in 1994. I combined a number of sound clips from these interviews to create the narration of one woman’s viewpoint for my video. I listened to many haunting pieces of music and finally settled on “Metamorphosis One” by Phillip Glass because I felt it was powerful, yet not overbearing. In order to put my video on youtube I am emailing Phillip Glass and the maker of Intended Consequences to ask for the rights to use parts of their work. For the gallery opening I created an installation where people could walk into a dark “tunnel,” hidden by dark curtains, and experience my piece on a much more intense level.
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Community Member (Details)
Marie Maciak – Filmmaker for the Ross Institute
Diana Aceti – Director of Development and Public Relations