Scopic Drive — Aspects of Perversion is a non-narrative tale exploring the tension between voyeurism, visual pleasure, and being looked at. The short film is a collaboration between Niké Danae Huiberts and Joy Bomer. They performed as joint directors for this project, working closely together from its initial inception till post-production. The film allowed them to explore their shared fascination for the human psyche and expose disavowed aspects of interpersonal power dynamics that originate from our culture which is becoming more and more visually driven.
Scopic Drive — Aspects of Perversion exhibits three characters as they transcend into their libidinal fantasies. Spikey, a provocative switch, dares the viewer to join them in a game of watersports. The submissive Goran becomes fully compliant as their medical fetish plays out. Lastly, Janeth dominates the audience in a game of role-playing.
On a conceptual level, Scopic Drive — Aspects of Perversion is influenced by psychoanalytic theories of scopophilia, drive theory, and the gaze. The characters each position themselves differently in relation to the power of the gaze, deriving pleasure from either actively watching, being watched, or a little bit of both. In the video, the dynamic of the scopic drive (watching—being watched, power—submission, agency—control) is explored via, among others, camera perspective, de-humanising close-ups, and by breaking the fourth wall as the characters Janeth and Spikey look directly into the lens.
“We were fascinated with how much power a look can have. Likewise, the intensity of emotive responses towards the visual. But it’s never clear-cut, always a struggle: do I want to be watched or remain invisible to the other’s eye? Would I want to be the centre of attention or rather watch someone else? What is the exact pleasure I gain from watching or being watched? Often, these aspects of visual pleasure remain unconscious. We wanted to extract these ambivalent feelings and place them within a fantasized scenario to bring them more to the foreground.”
Niké Danae Huiberts
Niké Danae Huiberts approaches creative direction through her own, distinctive (use of) visual language spanning multiple media. For her, fashion is a medium to translate criticism, ideas, and abstract concepts to a broader audience. Through her work, she aims to explore the (often repressed) facets of human subjectivity. Recent work includes ‘MetaMorphix’, a film and photography project centring on the artificiality of beauty ideals in the Hellenistic past and present day.
Joy Bomer is a writer and artistic researcher with a major in Film & Visual Culture. Her theoretical framework centres on (postmodern) continental philosophy with a specific focus on Lacanian psychoanalysis. Aside from gaze theory and the notions of perversion, she’s currently exploring power dynamics, objectification, and new forms of intimacy arising from late-capitalist society. Her creative writing displays these themes in forthcoming short stories such as ‘Of Service’ and ‘The Appetiser’.
“For this project, a conscious choice was made to work exclusively with performers from the Amsterdam queer and nightlife community. Given the current state of the fashion industry, it can prove more difficult to work with actors who don’t fit standard modelling sizes since fashion brands often have a limited range of available sample sizes. While working closely together with stylist Lea Wilbrand, we were able to secure garments from new and upcoming designers such as Luis de Javier, Laura Silberzahn, and Amber W. Smith which conveyed various scales of power and powerlessness. We created this film within a low budget which challenges you on both creative and production levels. We were lucky to be able to work together with art space W139 who helped the project immensely by trusting Geijer Studio to construct the elaborate sets within their walls.”
Production design by Geijer Studio / Instagram: @geijerstudio
Styling by Lea Wilbrand / Instagram: @leawilbrand
Hair and Makeup by Iraj Raghosing / Instagram: @irajraghosing
Sound design and Music by Elisa Batti / Instagram: @elisa_batti_
Photography on set by Jozef Wright / Instagram: @deluxewhore
Photography assistant by Max Heuvelman / Instagram: @maxhm_