Me vs Others is a 2018 short film by Arizona O’Neill and Laurence Philomene, based on the photo series of the same title by Laurence Philomene.
Arizona and I met up a few months ago and I told her about my desire to turn the concept of the photo series into moving images, and this film is the result of the collaboration between the two of us based on that premise.
Me vs Others
For some time, I have been touched and deeply moved by the photographic work of Laurence Philomene. Its disarming honesty and charming exhibitionism and brave gender busting, as well as its primary color palettes and graphic physical detail reeled me in. I have been working on different film projects surrounding the idea of the alienated female body separated from history and literature. I use static shots, theatrical staging, quirky set design, feminist chic outfits and awkward dialogue. I thought we could work on a film that incorporated Laurence’s visual language and my own film making style. The film follows a main character through a single day. The character is hesitant to leave the security of their messy womb like apartment at first, but then emerges into the world, carrying out simple activities, which might seem ordinary to some people, but to the character are fraught with anxiety and self-consciousness. The character is played by different actors in each scene. The point was to locate the sense of self, not in gender or physical appearance, but some place deeper, some place lovelier, some place more secure.
-Director Arizona O’Neill
Me vs Others is an ongoing photographic experiment that seeks to explore the nature of individual identity in the 21st century. This project takes root in a state of anxiety over online existence, and the constant gaze that comes with it. As a response to these anxieties, in December 2014, I began photographing other people dressed as myself in an orange wig mimicking my hair, in lieu of a traditional self-portrait practice. Soon I was on a quest to photograph every possible self - everyone I have been, or could have been; a world of endless possibilities. Increasingly, there is a sense of dissonance between this repeated image of the self and reality, like creating my very own caricature. With this work, I invite the audience to ask themselves: how do we come to brand ourselves? What do we come to identify as visual markers of ourselves? What parts of the story do we keep to ourselves?
- Laurence Philomene
Check out photos from the opening of the Me vs Others show in Toronto below.