Chessa Casper: Rotten Fruit
September 28, 2020
Chessa Casper’s short video Rotten Fruit, an audiovisual poem exploring time, gender, origins, transformation, and self-actualization, was recently screened at the Northwest Film Forum’s Local Sightings Film Festival.
The 7-minute piece was created in Julie Perini’s ART 455 Time Arts Studio course in the School of Art + Design during spring term. The video was part of the festival’s Mindscapes Experimental Shorts Program. Due to the pandemic, the Seattle festival’s week-long event happened online. Rotten Fruit was screened on Sunday, Sept 20, when Chessa also participated in an artist’s Q&A session.
Rotten Fruit was made during the first several months of Chessa’s medical transition and during the first several months of the pandemic. It was a crucial outlet for them to directly address their transness and the experience of ever-shifting identity through opposition while in an environment where they were somewhat closeted.
“Creating this film was very therapeutic," Chessa said of the process. "It gave me space to write my own narrative – my own mythology – through original images and sounds as well as through the reclamation and manipulation of media that holds dominant binary and cisnormative narratives surrounding gender and sex. Shaping pre-existing media to fit my own agenda posed unique challenges, but ultimately it was very rewarding. It took me in directions I wasn't necessarily planning to go both in these reclaimed sections and in other segments of the film.”
Much of the piece, the audio, in particular, was sourced from bits of outdated educational videos from the 1950s and ‘60s which they then spliced together to form an alternate narrative about puberty and hormonal development, centering around their experience of medical transition as a vehicle for healing and self-actualization.
Chessa Casper is a senior majoring in Film and Arts + Letters.
October 6, 2020
Chessa Casper's film won a Jury Award for Best Experimental Short at the 35th Annual Local Sightings Film Festival. The first-ever virtual installment of the festival showcased over 135 films to 1,200 festivalgoers from throughout the United States and Canada.