An Ode to the Abject

Que Peterson

Julia Kristeva describes the abject in Powers of Horror as the disgusted or frightened human reaction to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between the self and the other. Through my work, I explore the abject by using contrasting aesthetics of popular contemporary marketing and editorial stylization; an aesthetic in which prioritizes beauty and pleasure for the viewer. This contrast is an attempt at confrontation of society's denial of the abject, in hopes to make the abject approachable. In doing so, this further acknowledges the arbitrary confines of societal taboo. In my approach, I treat my film studio as a place to do process-based experimentation with the models I use, working under the general confines of the aesthetic mentioned earlier. Due to this process, much of the work produced is improvisational. Because the models are only aware that the general premise is to be ugly, raw, and animalistic, we see their subconscious aversions surface, as well as their dialectical opposition to maintain beauty with the presence of a camera. Thus, translating the images into the capturing of their beautified version of personalized abjection, which undoubtedly comes across as a reclaiming of trauma.


Art Studio, Film Studies


Jeremy Drummond