Isidora Ilić presented her video installation Voices_Gazes_Traces, concluding her research project Writing the Female Film. She wrote: “In order to question the (im)possibilities of constructing a different way of filmmaking that could be regarded as ‘female film’, the film medium—initially designed for theatrical screening—was converted into a gallery installation for this project, through the reconfiguration of its constitutive elements. The focus of research ranged from film and literary theories to feminist art practices that present feminist perspectives on the representation of women in film and film structure based on the logic of the Oedipus complex and the male gaze. Re-staging scenes from the Hollywood Golden era enables me as an artist to pursue the path of becoming a representation, commenting upon that process and contributing towards different ways of restructuring the conventional film format. To this end, I explore various conceptual, performative and experimental approaches to cinematic representation.”

Hélène Cixous’ 1975 essay The Laugh of the Me-dusa introduces the concept of écriture féminine and serves as the starting point for my research around (filmic) language and the gaze. The rich metaphor of the Medusa myth expresses the subjugation of women’s bodies and the enslavement of their spirits by a violent and oppressive male-oriented culture, which viewes Medusa’s life-giving, creative, primal energy as threatening. Whereas the figure of Medusa was originally portrayed as a beauty, in the retelling of the myth, her name became synonymous with “monster” over time. Both the Greek and Roman versions of the myth contribute to the transformation of the original Medusa narrative through speech and the symbolic order, ultimately cementing her monstrous identity.

The symbolic order of words and gazes functions as a platform where everything is subordinated to male subjectivity. Can female subjectivity be constituted within the symbolic order, or is it condemned to reaffirm that order? Could it be that by rejecting speech, Woman-as-Other might articulate a space beyond the symbolic order that suppresses her?”

Isidora ILIĆ is a film/video artist living in Belgrade. She studied comparative literature and literature theory at the University of Belgrade, women’s and gender studies at Belgrade Women’s Studies Center and attended the Film School of AFC at Students City Cultural Center Belgrade. Her work is based on practices of experimental film, performance art and art theory. The spectator often plays a key role in her works, and multilayered or fragmented structures aim to engage and enable further creation. She is co-founder of the artist group Doplgenger.

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