INTERVIEW WITH CORIE MCGOWAN

INTERVIEW
Hannah Prizeman
February 5, 2016
Hannah Prizeman

You’ve mentioned that your work comments on consumerist culture, and also sources inspiration from Japanese Chindogu. The majority of the products featured in your videos have been designed for women; would you say your work holds feminist qualities?

 

My most recent video piece questions our continuous need to enhance our image, using products marketed towards us. Adverts unnecessarily target insecurities and coax us into buying useless products. The script is influenced by the harsh language that is actually used in real commercials, and the products were chosen to mock current beauty trends, such as the fascination with bottom enhancing. As a female, I do feel particularly targeted by the industry and drawn into the manipulative marketing of consumerist culture. Recently I have become very aware of the ‘pink tax’ and  I have taken part in a protest about tampon tax.

 

I initially began my research watching early make-up commercials. I found these shockingly manipulative in the way that they directly targeted the insecurities of women. I think the reason why women feel the need to change and enhance their image continuously is largely because some powerful company wants to make even more money. 

 

However, I don’t want to rule out men in this one. I wonder why all the make-up adverts I found were targeted at women. I think it should be perfectly fine for men to wear make-up too, if they are intent on wearing it. There should be gender equality within the beauty industry and advertising for everyone. 

I believe that we really don’t need to buy stuff to feel empowered; we have been brain-washed into thinking that purchasing something can really make us feel better. I believe that we can find empowerment within ourselves, and not through our image. 

 

In terms of the Japanese Chindogu, I found these inventions super hilarious - almost like crazy, over the top tearaways from our consumerist culture. I kind of imagine that this is the way things are going, if things could get any worse.

 

 

 

Your video pieces are visually striking and completely captivating; becoming engrossed in them is almost unavoidable. Is the kawaii aesthetic a deliberate one? 

 

I’m glad that people find my work very striking; I do intend for the videos to be hypnotic and captivating.They are an over the top and exaggerated version of advertising. I really enjoy the powerful aspects of my work, in the way that it has developed the capacity to captivate and draw people in. 

We’d love to know more about the creative process for your work. How do you source the products? Do you manipulate existing audio or record your own? 

 

In terms of the creative process, I initially began my practice as a print-maker who has thoroughly embraced digital technologies; I still see my work as prints in a way. Throughout my practice I have always used collage to build imagery, and I use it right through to the final stages of video editing. Merging videos together to make one piece is another form of collage.

 

The audio usually provides the foundation for the film. I archive tons of samples from the internet and use them to inspire a script. I then record my own voice, or manipulate the samples on Logic Pro, to use in the final soundtrack. Once everything is ordered and gathered, I’ll make the visuals. After that, the sound is finalised by collaborators and sound engineers Luke Dash and Sam Mercer who, so far, have worked with me on the sound for 'Did you bake the cake, yourself?'.

 

 

 

Do you intend to explore this concept further, or take it into other mediums? 

 

Yes. I feel that this video concept is going to become a series for my degree show. As with print-making, I am constantly re-editing and going back to a piece of work before I am satisfied with it - this usually takes a long time. The final product appears very manipulated. I am hoping to develop this body of work into an immersive, multimedia installation for the degree show. 

 

What can we expect from you in 2016?

 

2016 has become a very scary number for me at the moment as I am graduating this year. The Wimbledon College of the Arts degree show will take place this June. I do hope either to continue studying or to take on an artist project or residency. In terms of my work, I would like to take over the whole creative process by writing original music for my video. I am currently working on an album cover commission for a London-based band called ‘Rocheii’ and I hope to get more creatively involved with the music industry. 

 

Which artists do you feel inspire your practice?

 

I am inspired by a diversity of sources. Art History, which I studied in school, has greatly influenced my practice in Fine Art. If I were to name a few artists these would be: Pipilotti Rist, Yayoi Kusama, Laure Provoust and Gustav Klimt. Many things in the world around me inspire my practice. 

 

Check out more of Corie's work here: http://www.coriedenbymcgowan.com