Posts Tagged ‘Wendy Clark’

I have become very interested in Friendship as an academic and documentary topic. I made a project about being friend-dumped, and one about long-distance internet friendships. I think for my final project I will move things in a positive direction by turning my focus to the concept of the BFF.

BFF is an acronym derived from the term “Best Friends Forever”. It can also stand for “Binary File Format”, which is a computer file that contains parts that can be interpreted as text. I do not feign to know very much about the latter definition, so we will just consider it a serendipitous occurrence given the nature of the project.

My final project will be an interactive exploration of the idea of best-friendship. It will be set up in a small space, something like a photobooth but more colourful. It will be called the BFF A/V Booth. I will ask that participants bring a two-dimensional object (a photograph, a letter, a drawing) that symbolizes their best friend*. The object will be inserted into what I call the BFF Remembatron, which is a box containing a hidden camera. In front of the BFF Remembatron is a microphone and a set of headphones. There is a small screen with a short list of instructions. It will ask the participant to think about their best friend, put on the headphones, hold the microphone up close to their mouth, and press Start. Once they press Start, a randomized question will appear on the screen, asking the participant a question about their Best-Friendship. They have two and a half minutes to record their answer, and the screen will count down the time. At the end, the participant may watch their recording and decide to either Retry or Submit it to the Best Friends Forever Database, which will contain all of the recordings. These recordings can also be viewed inside the booth.

The piece will recall ‘The Love Tapes’, a project created in the 1980s by video artist Wendy Clark. The artist set up a video camera confessional and asked her participants to define ‘Love’. She taped over 800 three-minute monologues about love, some sad, some funny, some poignant. I wasn’t able to find any of them online to show you, but there is an article by Michael Renov that deals with ideas of the confessional and therapeutic video in the work of Wendy Clark. It is available here.

There are plenty of technical issues that I have not yet considered, but the general idea is to create a database of personal stories and documents about friendship, which will serve as a starting point for my thesis film. There is an element of surprise in the BFF A/V booth; I hope it will let me find out some new and exciting things about BFFs.

*Paper, markers, and sparkles will be made available to participants.

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