The Burden of Selfhood

Stefani Byrd, Amy Rae Fox, Fernanda Navarro, Heidi Kayser, and Sarah Ciston

Experimental Documentary/Video Installation and Projection Mapping Performance, (Film Full Runtime: 38:40)

Documentation from the IDEAS Festival Performance at Calit2 Vroom Auditorium, March 23, 2017

The Burden of Selfhood is a short experimental documentary film which explores the intersection of feminism, identity, and technology. By connecting research from the humanities and cognitive science, this film investigates the experience of viewing and being viewed as a gendered body. This piece uses data visualization, eye tracking technologies to visualize the “gaze”, and original interviews with research participants to analyze user generated makeup tutorial videos from YouTube. These videos illustrate the drastic lengths employed to alter the face to meet unattainable standards of beauty, the analog answer to a world of Photoshopped bodies. This video takes a deep dive into the world of beauty, makeup trends, notions of self, while employing methods from cognitive science to study the connections between “Photoshop” culture and the boom in makeup trends over the last decade in order to make explicit both the collective gaze and the implicit impact of being seen.