“I love him who works and invents to build a house for the Overhuman and prepare for it earth and animal and plant." "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" Friedrich Nietzsche
The film creeps into issues of the Anthropocene while moving deeper into the psychological landscape of Lucy Palustris, the artist’s alter-ego. A solitary woman in the wetlands of southern Ontario, Lucy is a manifestation of our human psyche and our animal selves. Her role is ambiguous: Is she an agency of care, a psychologically (de)-stabilizing force or an intrusive presence? Illogical associations convey the strangeness and intensity of a dream. Disjuncture and incongruity colour the protagonist’s actions and costume within her surroundings, revealing the beauty and brutality of a degraded landscape and our transient existence within it. The film attempts to uncover something about who we are and how we have come to a tipping point of crisis. Fecundity, violence and death interweave. A call for restitution plays out like a Sisyphean gesture where tenacity and futility reign.
A subplot speaks to notions of gender, race and class. Costume performance plays to the stereotype of the middle-class white woman, while simultaneously subverting it. Trying to make sense of Hollywood film stereotypes embodied by her mother’s generation, the character both subverts and holds to ‘norms’ of a seemingly bygone era, lingering in her consciousness and, more generally, remaining pervasive today.
Writer/Director/Performance - Patricia Coates
Patricia Coates is a multi-disciplinary artist working in film, installation and performance who explores the beauty and brutality of a degraded landscape and our transient existence within it. A call for restitution plays out like a Sisyphean gesture. Fecundity and death, care and violence are set against each other to create a psychic tension within the character Lucy Palustris, the artist’s alter-ego. The work probes issues of the Anthropocene while creeping into the physiological landscape of the persona. Lucy, a solitary woman in the landscape or built environment, manifests a conflicted relationship with the living world. Is she an agency of care, a de-stabilizing force, or a menacing presence? Ultimately, the artist attempts to uncover something about who we are as she addresses the question: How have we come to this tipping point of crisis? Lucy’s efforts are deliberate, tenacious though perhaps quixotic. Is her role (or the role of art itself) a necessary resistance or a futile intervention? There is a bit of Lucy in all of us: our complicity and our resilience. A tragic-comedic tone permeates her actions and her costume: A subplot speaks to notions of gender, race and class. Costume performance and the film medium itself pokes fun at the stereotype of the middle-class white woman; more specifically, Hollywood film stereotypes embodied by the artist’s mother’s generation. Lucy simultaneously clings to and subverts constructed notions of ‘norms’ that linger in her consciousness and, more generally, remain pervasive in today’ s society.
Coates has been awarded numerous Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council grants supporting her international practice.