Selfie with Marilyn in ZEBRA, Berlin and FOTOGENIA, Mexico City – representation – who makes the image?
Poet Heidi Seaborn, Dr Meriel Lland and Sarah Tremlett on identity; Hatti Rees’ Personas at The Stedelijk Museum, Breda, and Sarah’s New Romantic incarnations. Plus an update from Tom Konyves on Selfie and Heidi’s wonderful news winning the Pank Book Prize for Poetry 2020 with An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe.
Very, very pleased to say that Selfie with Marilyn with poem ‘Snapping a Selfie’ by American poet Heidi Seaborn and featuring multi-disciplinary British artist Hatti Rees, has been accepted into ZEBRA poetry film festival, Berlin, this year (19–22 November) selected from 2000 other entries. I am also really thrilled to say the Spanish version has also been accepted into FOTOGENIA, Mexico City, 12–14 November. This is a festival that selects ‘divergent, avant-garde narratives: that take into account the disruptive nature of the selected works’. This poetry film was originally produced by The Visible Poetry Project, New York for the April 2020 poetry month project. Film-makers are selected who then choose a poem and poet to work with, to create a poetry film. Visible Poetry then upload one a day during April.
This film has led to a full-length discussion (see below) on (female) self-representation and who makes the image.
Selfie with Marilyn centres on an older Marilyn talking to her younger self – Norma Jeane, through the perceptive and evocative writing of poet Heidi Seaborn. In the poetry film Marilyn (and Norma Jeane) are played by non-binary artist Hatti Rees, who is known for creating numerous online personas and alien creatures. We see Hatti rehearsing playing bittersweet Marilyn – learning the lines of the poem as a selfie, and getting the ‘right take’. The film is a dual, or quote within quotes exercise in representation and identity creation. Hatti attempts to emulate Marilyn, but we also see the pathos and vulnerability of a Marilyn who also has to rehearse and work at being the icon ‘Marilyn’ that the public demands.
Sarah Tremlett in conversation with Dr Meriel Lland
ML: Sarah, thank you for talking with me about Selfie with Marilyn. I was lucky enough to have a preview of the piece and felt its emotional impact immediately. I was hooked by the multiple ‘conversations’ taking place through time here. The voices are many: Heidi, Hatti, you, the haunting dialogue within Heidi’s poem between Marilyn (as performance), Norma Jeane (as performance to a pre-Hollywood audience) and ‘meta-Marilyn’ (or is that Heidi as the speaker of the poem?) who observes her various selves in action. Hatti’s interpretation and ‘embodying’ of these fragile voices was subtle and shifting and rewards many viewings. Bringing together these creative voices was inspired – such a poignant intermingling. There’s a powerful sense of exploration and experimentation taking place in the piece – an extended improvisation. Could you tell us something about how you approached this as director?
ST: My own small role as director was that I saw an immediate creative connection between Heidi’s exploration of identity through Marilyn and Hatti’s work with different personas (see particularly Love magazine Christmas 2019 issue). I wanted to see what would happen if we put their work together. In terms of tone and feel, I knew I wanted it not to be a crisp, strained portrayal (as so many are, perhaps out of admiration), but one done almost throwaway, late at night, to bring out that slightly overworked, tired feel. I knew Hatti didn’t have any views on Marilyn, so it would be a pure and authentic approach. This attention to a visual mood is so hard to describe but really what I feel a director should be all about.
ML: I can definitely see that sense of world-weariness in the mood and atmosphere of the piece – and also that sense of improvisation. How did you prepare Hatti for the role?
Norma Jeane stills by Georgi Rees
ST: After describing what I wanted to Hatti and discussing clothing, etc. Hatti filmed themselves as Marilyn and they were also photographed as Norma Jeane (copying famous stills by Andre de Dienes) by Georgi Rees. These were done on a crisp December morning on a balcony in Greenwich (London), with a blue sky background (which was carefully ironed for over an hour!). I think this attention to detail really paid off, as the stills do feel like a California beach to me! I also love this kind of problem solving. When Hatti sent me the raw footage, the most poignant bits for me were when their eyes dropped to read the lines, and also when they made mistakes. The idea of having three ‘takes’ next to each other just came from the editing process. It suddenly made absolute sense to show the vulnerability present; how Hatti aimed at being Marilyn and both Marilyn and Hatti sometimes failed. I think it also shows how, even silent, we can see from their expressions how they construct Marilyn. This also translated well in terms of the moving image and interrogations of (female) representation. My main contribution was making this editing decision; placing the stills where they are (the beginning and with the credits) and reducing all the material that was shot. In terms of poetic writing, this then initially altered the finely structured and eloquent syntax of the poem. I don’t think a film-maker has to include a poem exactly as it is delivered on the page, although normally this is the case. In this film, I feel the fracturing adds to the overall semantics, rather than detracts, so that when we finally hear the whole poem we realise what Marilyn was trying to say. Fortunately, Heidi was very open to this and understood how it related to her original premise.
ML: So your editorial decisions were responding very much to Hatti’s footage and Georgi’s stills. Perhaps we have other artistic conversations emerging here then? I really like that your open-minded flexibility has found a way to incorporate the discoveries made in the process of performing itself. The overt fictions – the express factitiousnesses – revealing unexpected ‘realities’. The structure of the piece refuses any fast or fixed apprehension of what it might be to perform ‘woman’. Is this part of a wider investigation of female identities – or gender and identities?
ST: I have a number of films that haven’t seen the light of day yet that are interrogations of the female image [see later on for historical background]. I have just been too busy with the book [The Poetics of Poetry Film] and thinking about other people’s work to finish them. Another good example of working with an artist onscreen, though not examining identity creation, is when I directed Lucy English in Summer Solstice for the Book of Hours. I knew I wanted to film Lucy joyfully running/skipping across the screen, as if on a beach. Of course, you only suggest this, but to do so Lucy organised it so we could use the Film and Photography Studio at Bath Spa University. It was a great experience. It was a huge space, and I had an assistant so we could play with lighting and wind etc. This film expanded on her own character, rather than being an interrogation of the female image, but I definitely drew on my earlier work here. I directed her for what I wanted, and she was very open to what I asked. I think that is a good example; I didn’t want to overpower her own interpretation – if someone is meant to be joyously uninhibited then let them go for it. I also think this is important when you are working with artists (rather than actors), who are more used to finding or establishing their own approach. I also did the same with the cellist in Claire Climbs Everest.
Female or gendered identity is a huge subject. As I said I have a series I am working on, but other things have been prioritised, such as focusing on how Liberated Words can bring to light the devastation happening to the environment, and touring the Uprooted project with films on the refugee crisis.
ML: I understand – that sense of being pulled in a number of creative directions. I suppose what I’m wondering is how this improvisatory and responsive working method fits with your previous body of work in which formal structuring of the screen plays a powerful part in meaning?
ST: Yes, my style up to now has mostly involved quite structured screens. I have wanted to exploit structure as part of the storytelling process. I think for some this might result in quite upfront images, more graphically informed than stream-of-consciousness moments. This might also be related to working on canvases, as an artist, or in terms of being trained long ago as a textile designer. It always fascinates me to have the ability to make things move in any direction across a screen; and how this contributes to the flow of dramatic narrative. In terms of being open and responsive to the moment – quite a long time ago I also explored different embodied ways of representing female identity [see Creating Representational Identity later on], so I know how much the person in front of the camera can bring to a final image. I knew that I would have enjoyed such a challenge if I were in Hatti’s shoes. Actually, I also work in a responsive way when editing text and editing film with the editor, Jamie. In that case as basic editor and director I nearly always go in with a broad idea that becomes something more heightened or dramatic through a sudden burst of imagination, instinctive play, ‘what if’ moments, or attention to deeper editing choices. I really like working with another person, and sparking off their thoughts or responses. I have worked with Jamie for a long time now and he is extremely capable and talented. Another example of being receptive or responsive is in gathering images with your iPhone or camera phone; being open to poetic moments as you go about your daily life.
Working alone is another thing entirely. You and your imagination, your machine and its immense surprises. Maybe there is an opportunity to be more improvisational, particularly tinkering over time; but I find I still like counterpointing structure against totally random rhythms and tones. In a recent eight poems and images in eight days challenge, I created eight one-minute Lockdowning [co]video poems from March to September 2020. Working from the image every day, I found myself consumed not just by text, but by audio-visual connections, ideas, and editing choices. It can totally take over your life!
In Selfie with Marilyn the visually evocative, but spare and profound writing by Heidi Seaborn set a standard for eloquence yet playfulness and also sadness. I feel I can say that the final audio-visual structure really strengthens the underlying premise, just as it does in, for example, Mr Sky with poem by Lucy English, for The Book of Hours. I would just say that being ‘open to ideas’ is still a proactive state; it holds in itself all the possibilities that you know are there, but are about to come through. Some people also describe this as ‘flow’. I think I get a huge kick out of letting flow happen, and working with others enhances the joy, as well as someone to share the experience with. I would almost say that the unexpected bursts of creative vision that result from flow are reason enough for making experimental films – videopoems / poetry films. This unpremeditated state somehow gives me faith in humanity – a tingle up my spine. It is sometimes spoken about by musicians in the throes of jamming in a recording studio.
ML: And the underlying premise is … What does this meditation on Marilyn mean today? And what does it bring to the festival platform?
ST: To answer your questions in reverse: II think that in several ways this is a risky film for some festivals. This is both from the point of view of curators who prefer more subjective, oneiric, conceptual or cause-based works let’s say, but also don’t see how the film is a form of détournement, using the system against itself. From another point of view, for certain festivals there are tensions in such an upfront American statement, particularly in those countries who have a difficult history with the USA. Marilyn has such strong connotations between sexuality, female identity, consumerism and capitalism/Imperialism that in these days, she could be viewed as a symbol of all that is wrong with the world (particularly when you look at the sexism in the White House today). But the essential point is that, as Heidi says, you don’t have to idealise her, she is a trope and one of the first to construct herself wholly as an icon (whatever that really means). Once, having the power to turn cameras in your direction was a very special thing. Now we all turn cameras on ourselves, but the results can also be very special. Perhaps, it is how we relate to or worship the camera that we are really examining here. Ultimately, for me, it was a chance to probe filmic identity creation through both humour and pathos. And the pathos is very much present all the way through. The desire to not be yourself ultimately begins to wear you out.
ML: Wow. That phrase is very powerful: ‘The desire to not be yourself ultimately begins to wear you out’. This really chimes with me – and perhaps with our times. I was catching up on the final episode of the Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper TV show, I Hate Suzie recently. This is definitely exploring similar terrain. Can you tell me more about, shall we say, ‘not being yourself’?
Hatti Rees, ‘Planet Chill Wonderland’, Power to the Models, Stedelijk Museum, Breda
ST: The central theme of identity and representation runs far deeper than the film itself, for both Heidi and Hatti. Hatti is one of the artists selected by innovative young Dutch curator and artist Jan Hoek for the inclusive identity exhibition Power to the Models, at the Stedelijk Museum, Breda, running 9 September to 29 November. I delayed announcing the film’s inclusion in ZEBRA as Hatti was waiting to release details of the exhibition in the UK. Here, with a background as a photographer, and questioning the power relations between both sides of the camera, artist Hoek hands creative control of the images to the models themselves; in a sense a political act. Each ‘model’ creates their own identity as they see it; and Hoek becomes something broader than curator or cultural gatekeeper, but amplifier of other voices. Again, a responsive, sensitive role; one that listens and opens out, rather than didactic or directorial in an enforced way. Also, importantly, not from a white, male, Western, heterosexual point of view. This question of how image makers convey subjects as subjects is very current now. One answer is to hand over control of the camera itself.
Power to the Models exhibitors
I was lucky enough to go to the exhibition [see below for links], where we get a chance to see through the eyes of 11 very different diverse subjects: cattle farmer; body positive artist; queer activist soldier; Superstar DJ; photo editor of Vogue Italia; Down syndrome model; non-binary subversive artist; bike customising African slum dweller; Turkish vlogger from the Dutch slums; adoptee, raising awareness of abuse in the system, and an activist and politician. As a non-binary artist, Hatti’s project for the exhibition – Planet Chill Wonderland – is very much in that spirit, including their numerous alien, chameleon-like personas, augmented reality face-filters, a giant inflatable rabbit ‘Bunny Suicides’, and their debut music video. As ‘experimental trap, pop and pc-music’ Rees has just released the single DEMON, alongside the exhibition and under the name XAiLA – see Spotify and other sites www.hattirees.com – congratulations!!
Hatti says in their artist’s statement they look for: ‘the fluid possibilities of gender and sexuality … humour in the darkness, the grotesque and uncanny nature of things which manifest through the narratives that my images contain. It was important for me to platform my images, alongside sculpture, video and sound to really create an immersive world’.
Jan Hoek talking to Hatti Rees
I’m delighted that Sarah Tremlett chose to make a film of my poem ‘Snapping a Selfie’. It is from my next collection, which uses Marilyn Monroe as a trope for a poetic examination of our cultural obsessions and shared addictions. I’ve written extensively from a feminist place and wanted to apply that not only to Marilyn’s biography but to excavate celebrity culture. It meant that I conducted intensive research into an icon that I didn’t really know in order to write in the persona of Marilyn. She was not someone I was particularly drawn to, but to me she was the first, and remains the most enduring, female celebrity icon. As I wrote, I discovered that I had much in common with Marilyn – surprisingly, as our lives couldn’t be more different. Yet, we are both women who have worked in a man’s world, and experienced: objectification, power, dealt with disappointments in love and marriage, vulnerability and battled insomnia and addiction to sleep medication.
The poems have become a middle-of-the-night conversation between Marilyn and ‘I’ the poet, where it is not always clear which one of us is speaking. That blurring of speaker to me evokes not only the haze of insomnia and addiction, but also the blurring of boundaries created by our Internet celebrity culture. I ended up writing 100 or so poems as part of this project, which then were distilled into my thesis for my MFA at New York University, and my next poetry collection entitled An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe.
The film Selfie with Marilyn that Sarah Tremlett conceived, directed and produced captures the very essence of not only that poem, but the overall intention of my project. The blurring of Marilyn/not Marilyn, how the character is both in the act of becoming Marilyn and at the same time deconstructing Marilyn. It’s brilliant.
Hatti is amazingly talented. I was really drawn to the Love magazine series. It captures the idea of transforming, putting on a ‘game face’ that Marilyn would do to become Marilyn. In Selfie with Marilyn she is also, at that moment, looking in the mirror and seeing her whole life and knowing how ephemeral it is; and yet we know how enduring she becomes. But in the poem, she is experiencing loss, fleetingness of time, youth, love, and yet knows she can put on lipstick and keep going.
Creating Representational Female Identity Then and Now
Discussing this film, and Hatti’s constantly revisioning approach to constructing identity, prompted Meriel and I to move on to thinking about the changes in female representation as we have seen them over the years. I would like to put my thoughts in context first and then Meriel’s.
I can relate to Hatti’s work, as, in a less extreme way, I experimented with my own identity on art foundation and then at St Martins [School of Art] during the New Romantic period.
Sarah Tremlett, Ritz Magazine
It didn’t matter whether you were living hand-to-mouth in a freezing cold bedsit; at the same time as drawing ideas, writing poems/lyrics, painting and fleshing out experimental novels, I would put together my own ‘look’. I worked with other artists and creative photographers to produce photographs that were more like art images. The three images shown are examples of a blending of creative input behind and in front of the camera. Styling my own clothes, I would often reproduce stereotypical female identities with a subversive twist. We were driven to get the most creative results, beyond commercialism. Once I found myself in Richmond Park on a cold winter evening with a stuffed alligator under my arm. As such I totally understand the concept that the person in front of the camera has an equal share at least in creating the image. Whilst learning how to frame the model in life-drawing classes, or the shape and form of a textile design, working as the (model/artist) subject/creator in making artistic images gave me a feeling for the image from the inside. I had to interpret a mood or feeling from ‘here’ and ‘there’, both physically and emotionally. Later I went on to have a stage play performed in America and the film version optioned (but not produced). All of this came from these early experiments.
I am sure I now subconsciously draw on those early experiences when making poetry films. I also have a feeling that they led me to having an ability to take a ‘responsive’ approach as Meriel says, both in front of and behind the camera when working with the human subject. Equally, I also find that I don’t become immersed in feature films where the director imposes too much into the dramatic scenario. This can result in creating objects rather than subjects for the audience I find. It is totally different if you are deliberately taking the trope of object or stereotype and rethinking it photographically, to undo expectations and to make a vivifying spectacle or statement. And it is these rules that apply; the strength and effect of the statement. We play the culture to some extent at its own game.
I don’t think I will ever stop thinking about this subject. For example, I know that I myself shift between the invisible role of editor/copy editor for text, where being absent or unseen is the height of success (making an author seem coherent and effective) and the desire to expand on identity (as author and artist). Moreover, today we have to question, question, question representation. Alarmingly, we only ‘know’ our political leaders this way, rhetoric on rhetoric. During my early years exploring identity, replicating female image creation for the media was also famously being explored by American role-playing artist/subject Cindy Sherman in her black and white photographic series Untitled Film Stills (1977–80). She notes how these characters are depicted as already in a state of artifice, somehow ‘acting’, and it is this sense that I feel is now being re-examined in Hatti’s work today.
In Selfie with Marilyn which is not typical of their work as I oversaw the direction, Rees delivers both the act and the attempt at the act. This was my own choice, to extend beyond the selfie moment as it were; to get the beauty of that moment. In their own photographic alien personas (see www.hattirees.com) which are mainly still photographs, Rees has constructed a total scene, like Sherman. However, the figure in the scenario is wholly of itself, not part of a system of clothes and poised moments that are reflexively recognisable in filmic terms, but also somehow enforced on the woman photographed. (A woman caught playing the part she has chosen in a socio-economic context). Rees takes these posed moments and undoes them; re-introducing through body posture, makeup, clothing, camera angle, location, and Photoshopped alien effects or prosthetics, a way of seeing that is their own approach to image creation, beyond the socio-economic nexus.
Whilst with Sherman we recognise the image yet have an uncanny feeling of artistry, in Rees’ works we see the image and its often alien narratives for the first time. There may occasionally be resonances of past/cliched figures (not necessarily overtly female, perhaps because Rees is non-binary) in a form of détournement, but overall it is important that Rees undoes the allusion, opening up new points of cultural registration.
Across all forms of cultural media (whether termed art, fashion, or design) new approaches to identity creation are surfacing today. I celebrate the fact that digital technology, social media and the ‘selfie’ have given new power to experimenting with identity in the 21st century. Equally, Heidi’s poetry has somehow hit a nerve, or open wound that delves into the questions at the centre of this programme, and I look forward to reading An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe when it is published.
Meriel’s thoughts on the subject
You describe Selfie with Marilyn, as a ‘quote within a quote exercise in representation’. As a writer and film poet fascinated by stories of women’s self-making or self-invention, I experienced this piece as a haunting palimpsest. Hatti, is a site under (self) construction encountering and ‘trying out’ ghost identities from another time. Hatti ‘tastes’ lines from Heidi’s poem. They seem to embody the strength and fragility of both ‘Marilyn’ and Norma Jeane. But more than this, they embody the right to choose and try out identities as the psyche demands.
Hatti has the power to shape-shift and refuse fixity. Their inked body and prosthetics are all of their own invention. While ‘Marilyn’ (toast of Hollywood’s men in suits and the cinema-going public) bankrolled Norma Jeane, Hatti is, literally, making their art from a refusal to present any single stereotype. For me, this sense of choice and their numerous metatextual explorations of identity, is one of the precious glimpses of progress we see in the present.
It seems to me that Hatti’s portraits/characters connect with Cindy Sherman’s Film Stills, History Portraits and her work with prosthetics/fake body parts. Hatti uses contemporary techniques of course. Interestingly, Sherman says very little about the ‘why’ of her work. I read the multiplicity of personae as a refusal of fixity and a comment on the plasticity of female identities.
I’ve long been fascinated by the 1950s’ invention of the ‘dumb blonde’. Women who were neither dumb nor blonde created personae that Hollywood endorsed and promoted. This look was entirely contrived, purchased even, and it seems to combine resonances of the child-like and the sexually exaggerated. A strange coming together of the virgin/whore binary untruth that haunts Western representation.
When protean Madonna Ciccone adopted the ‘Marilyn’ persona in the 1980s she had fun thwarting the music industry’s expectations of her and of the Marilyn reference. As a consummate business woman, Ciccone understood and exploited the virgin/whore tensions in her performances. She constructed skillful meta-narratives of her own emancipation through her music which underlined that this ‘material girl’ would always remain in control. Ciccone is robust, confident and sure-footed as she dances her story.
When Hatti channels Marilyn Monroe and Norma Jeane Baker they do so in a more hesitant and nuanced manner. They are exploring, not adopting. Sufficiently brave and confident to show uncertainty, we are invited to glimpse the messy process of self-making – not the product. This is, after all, Selfie with Marilyn, not as Marilyn. Like all selfies, it is only ever part of the story.
When Ciccone ‘performed’ ‘Marilyn’ it was joyful and knowing. She was mixing it up as the artist loves to do. This 2020 ‘performance’ is, instead, full of questioning. Created in the ‘post-truth’ era as the world faces the uncertainties of pandemic and witnesses crude sexism at the highest levels in our political and cultural leaders, there are no easy fixes here. But there is wit, vulnerability and courage and a willingness to think over what ‘Marilyn’ and her self-making may have to show us.
UPDATE TO THE ARTICLE
SO pleased to say that Heidi Seaborn’s thesis that used Marilyn as a trope entitled An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe won the PANK Books Prize for Poetry 2020. Also, it will be published on June 1st – Marilyn’s 95th birthday. Congratulations to Heidi for all your extraordinary work!
At ZEBRA poetry film festival last autumn Tom Konyves gave a masterclass on video poetry. He mentioned my film Some Everybodies, 2009, which creates a videopoem from overheard conversations as rolling subtitles and filmed footage of people at an intersection on a quiet tourist street in the UK. Incidentally, the film also freezes where tourists take a snapshot, but it also slows the sound and the images together to create a form of drama not apparent at regular speed. Anyhow, Tom ended his talk on the triptych portrait or vertical mode video poem, discussing his own film Ow(n)ed (2014). He was going to continue but didn’t have time. He got in touch with me and said the film he hadn’t had time to mention was Selfie with Marilyn and my use of the portrait mode in triptych. He has kindly given me his notes, which I will share with you today.
It has to be said that here Tom reads Selfie differently or with a new eye from myself and even Heidi. It shows how a work takes on a life of its own once it goes out into the world, and how the more informed someone is who is ‘reading’ your work, the richer the response you will receive.
‘So… having now read the interview with Meriel, I didn’t see the ‘blurring of Marilyn/not Marilyn’; in fact, it was the built-in cut from persona to person that confirmed what had so moved me, which was Hatti’s off-camera glance to the script. By built-in cut from persona to person I mean the context of an acting rehearsal and performance, delivery or attempted delivery of lines – it was a good idea on your part to present and leave the takes as takes whose integrity, of gender and identity, juxtaposed as they are with each other, is multiplied across the three screens.
Interesting how we move fractured, fragmented, ever so slowly from the screen on the left, to the right, with sound overlapping (distancing effect notwithstanding) to the center, whose voice “mutes” the Marilyn/Hatti on either side, conferring a resolved “final” meaning to the performance. I do wonder about how much of what she’s asserting in the monologue really belongs to Marilyn. Each glance off-camera is a shock to my system of understanding; she’s a Marilyn-Hatti hybrid that becomes Hatti when she glances aside. Rinse, repeat.
With each sidelong glance (by the performer) and interrupted “take” (by the filmmaker), the “poetry” of Heidi’s poem is ‘laid bare’; Hatti thwarts the illusion Marilyn, leaving Heidi’s words behind in the wake of ‘just another take”, which rings very true for me.
It is clear that the center frame functions to recapture, reclaim, (redeem?) Heidi’s “poetry” after the opening false starts. For me, the false starts offer more “poetic experience” than the long reading by the center frame.
Questions, questions. Why does the authority of the voice rest with the center rather than the right or the left? (I know, too much politics lately, too much Chuck Berry’s monkey business).’
Thank you Tom, so much to think about and discuss further here. We can now really give those propositions and revealing statements some thought – the authority of the voice …
Heidi Seaborn is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal and author of Give a Girl Chaos (C&R Press/Mastodon Books, 2019), which was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer and Wheelbarrow awards, as well as two chapbooks (Once a Diva, forthcoming from dancing girl press and Finding My Way Home, Finishing Line Press, 2018). Since Heidi returned to writing in 2016, she’s won or been shortlisted for over two dozen awards and her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies such as American Poetry Journal, Frontier, Greensboro Review, The Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Penn Review, The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith and Tar River. She recently finished a second collection, An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe and is currently writing a memoir, Upstart, about the early days of Silicon Valley. She is a graduate of Stanford University, received her MFA from NYU and is on the Board of Tupelo Press. www.heidiseabornpoet.com Twitter: @heidiseaborn1, FB: heidi seaborn, Instagram: @heidiseaborn
Hatti Rees is a non-binary British Artist who explores every aspect of identity creation. Graduating last year from the acclaimed Womenswear course at Central Saint Martins, Rees has created makeup looks for artists such as Kim Petras and Hannah Diamond, worked in the design department for Marc Jacobs and as beauty editor for Love magazine. They became known for their ‘12 faces of Xmas’ (2019) for Love see https://www.hattirees.com/love-magazine where their make-up transformations into characters such as the Queen, Regina George, Miss Piggy and a Christmas bauble have been fast-edited into short entertaining films. Hatti has consistently incorporated complex beauty narratives into their work. As a multi-disciplinary young creative, dramatic story-telling is the priority; and they thrive on making new identities. ‘I’m inspired by womxn who are never the protagonist’ Hatti says in their Dazed profile, attributing their chameleon-like personas to a childhood filled with eccentric characters. However, empowering marginalised womxn is the ultimate goal. www.Hattirees.com
https://stedelijkmuseumbreda.nl/tentoonstelling/power-to-the-models-curated-by-jan-hoek (Dutch version only but shows the images)
For Press overview of Power to the Models see https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2717525708461556
Dr Meriel Lland
Dr Meriel Lland, recently Creative Writing Programme lead at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire faculty, is a freelance writer, wildlife photographer (working with such clients as BBC Wildlife, RSPB Birds and National Geographic), film-maker and educator. As an eco-poet and film-poet Lland investigates biophilia and the representation of human relationships with more-than-human worlds: with nature, wildlife, and folklore.
Her PhD at the University of Keele was entitled An Anxious ‘I’: Stratagems for Survival. Narratives of autofacture in the works of Frida Kahlo, Cindy Sherman, Madonna Ciccone and Helen Chadwick. This research centred on an analysis of multimedia works situated within current theories of gender/identity in performance, corporeal feminism and self-commodification.
Sarah Tremlett MPhil, FRSA, SWIP is a writer, artist, theorist and poetry filmmaker. She is co-director of Liberated Words CIC Poetry Film festival and events and editor of Liberated Words online. She has had her work screened and given talks on poetry film worldwide, and judged at a number of festivals, including Liberated Words, Newlyn PZ Film Festival, LYRA and Light Up Poole. She is author and editor of The Poetics of Poetry Film, Intellect Books and Chicago University Press.
Recent commissions include: Selfie with Marilyn The Visible Poetry project, New York (April 2020 online) and Bird Poem a collaborative family history poetry film with poet Dr Helen Johnson; a commission from the Centre for Arts and Wellbeing, Brighton University (June 2020).
Selfie with Marilyn the film
Visible Poetry Project