TRANS Director's Statement
To explore notions of transformation I wanted to find an image style distinct from conventional gender binaries: not wholly male or wholly female; images for a third gender. In TRANS the body is represented as an ever-mutable form. However, I knew that the distancing, almost abstract nature of the images would be counterbalanced by Kali’s immense warmth, honesty and intelligence.
Above all else, TRANS is a portrait of a friend. As such, it was important to rigorously concentrate on the personal elements in order for the film’s themes to resonate with audiences and avoid ‘issue-based’ clichés. Kali speaks for no-one but herself.
I conducted audio interviews with Paul/Kali every few months over the period of about a year. After the interviews were recorded I would shoot sequences for the film, which had been devised in response to the previous set of interviews. Through this method, the content of the audio interviews flowed into the constructed images and a visual grammar began to emerge. Given this amount of time, Paul’s development of Kali paralleled my own filmic construction of this female persona, ‘Kali’. I devised scenes and shot them on a digital stills camera with slow shutter speeds. This captured motion was then reconstructed as a video sequence by dissolving the images together, allowing me to author a sequence where actions can be accentuated by being lengthened, shortened or even entirely deleted.
It was my aim to create a formally and thematically complex hybrid of photographic and cinematic technique. The film was influenced by the sequential photography of Eadweard Muybridge, whose innovative work utilized faster shutter speeds in order to accurately capture motion and were subsequently considered foundational works of the cinema. I sought to subvert these techniques through the use of digital technology and apply them to the developing thematic preoccupations of my work, i.e. constituents of identity and transformation. Subverting Muybridge’s pursuit of an almost scientific veracity, it was my intention to use still photography to create near- expressionist sequences that explore notions of physical transformation and also endeavour to restore the uncanny mystery to human movement that Muybridge was so eager to render comprehensible.