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As a kid, I spent my free time playing with Barbies, building forts, dressing up and putting on fashion shows or having dance parties. When I was a little bit older, I would make music videos or movie trailers with my sister and friends. My grandma had two trash bags full of vintage clothing items and a myriad of costumes and wigs for us to play with. I loved getting dressed up, playing with makeup, and being on camera. Preparations for a birthday party is a multimedia installation exploring the themes of childhood, nostalgia, identity, and self-expression. The piece features a suspended TV frame, made from laser-cut glitter acrylic, set in front of a makeshift backdrop with pink streamers. The floor is filled with balloons, costumes, and wigs. Two dresses and corresponding headwear hang on the wall to the right. The project is based around a series of clips I took when I was around seven years old, in which I document the process of setting up my sister Clara’s birthday party. This video is the earliest I can find of myself documenting my life, and has become a representation of my relationship with the camera.


The projected video consists of some of that found footage as well as current clips of myself. In some of the scenes, I project the younger videos onto myself now to draw parallels between the two. The backdrop of the video is the same set as the installation. You see me putting on makeup, dressing up in different costumes, and filming myself. I used both my childhood camcorder and my computer’s photobooth to film as these related to how I have recorded myself throughout the years. I experimented with materials, light and color in this piece. Both the backdrop and the TV frame have glittery reflective surfaces, which allowed me to play with the light and color in a few ways, especially with video and light projections. The audio combines snippets of the found footage, as well as Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” synth pads and a harp. My goal was to create a dreamlike nostalgia through these elements.


This project allowed me to connect with my inner child by building a stage in my apartment and playing dress up. This also nods to Erving Goffman's “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” in which he uses the metaphor of the theatre to describe how individuals act in certain social settings. I was inspired by Shana Moulton’s alter ego Cynthia, who represents her inner anxieties. Although my dressing up isn’t an alter ego per se, it was a similar working method of using costume and wigs to explore my inner world. Further, I have always admired Nam June Paik’s work, especially his use of the TV as a sculpture.

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