Through personal conversations with women and teenagers, a remarkably consistent and similar narrative kept appearing when the subject of teen hood girlfriends was broached. A strange and overwhelming world of love, jealousy, alliance, malice, change, confusion, lust and heartbreak was being recalled and memorialized, and I could relate. Influenced by cinema and literature I began experimenting with fictitious tableaux, inspired by these shared biographies that explored and signified the vital and under-represented intricacies of girlhood. I became intrigued by these universal observations that seemed gender specific.
Beauty rituals aid the cultural construction of femininity and for this reason can become oppressor to both girls and women. Washing and brushing long, thick hair, skincare application, actions that are, at first glance, nurturing evolve into something with a sinister significance. The ominous, ambiguous, erotic and aggressively pretty nature of the visuals attempts to disorient the preconceived notions of girlhood and femininity, which are further subverted by the constant use of the colour blue.
We Were Swimming abandons the sweet scents of girlhood to make room for a multifaceted, obscure andessential female relationship and it is this complexity of a specifically female intimacy that I am fascinated by. The highly aestheticized visuals coincide with a bleak voice over to create an oppositional effect; an archetype of purity and innocence with secrets, desires and darkness. Through the female gaze a coded language between young women is acknowledged.