how to get whatever you want
A Film by Amanda Mehl
In this fashion film in the form of an at-home workout video created during lockdown, I play an alter ego character whose control freak side emerges as a result of too much social distancing with her self. With the internet as the only portal to the outside world and unilateral relationships with influencers and YouTubers replacing in- person connections, my subject uses affirmations to remain aligned on her mission to transform into her “higher-self”. The 3 minute video captures the journey’s frantic progression that culminates in desperation to achieve a state of perfection by the time the world reopens. As the New Age dream sets off a relentless quest for the ideal state of body and mind, the "Amehl Full Body and Soul Workout Program" is humorously relatable, showing actual pandemic goals. There's a common self expectation to be spiritual, constantly productive, and ready with that hot summer bod for when we reopen. YouTubers lead their devoted audiences to believe that they are not complete people until they embark on this pursuit to become their optimized self, eternally preparing for a moment that has yet to come. Featuring 7 editorial looks, this project incorporates Amehl into my visual art practice and encompasses several mediums such as digital and performance art. Turning my living room into a movie set, I did the camera shooting, acting, creative direction and set design alone using just items that I had at home. Music: Precious Zimmermann
Some personal notes on self care: In a world in which capitalism fuels competitive demands to achieve and maintain unnatural standards of excellence in every aspect of our lives, it's easy to feel ashamed for not being constantly productive and perfectly operating all of the time. With the commodification of self care, biological functions are being tracked by apps while social media exposes us to people devoting their lives to perfecting their headstands. Repeating affirmations over and over in one's brain is equated with self worth while expensive candles became symbols of self love. Even during a pandemic there's this pressure to have a regenerative and productive transformation. Some of the motivational convictions surrounding wellness can be harmful though, advocating the notion that if our dreams don't come true it's because we didn't work hard enough. While I’m all for taking care of one’s self, I’m critical of #selfcare, as a neatly packaged instagrammable aspirational ideology. We don’t need to buy into the promise of charcoal or turmeric to improve our wellbeing. We need to put less pressure on ourselves, as well as access to affordable healthcare and the downtime which our capitalist system robs us of. We were born into a patriarchal system that convinces us that we are broken and then sells us products to fix ourselves. Accepting ourselves as complete human beings and not works in progress would result in actual life improvements.