JULY 18, 2023
Art challenges and provokes thought. Art's primary goal is to let people recognize how valuable it is in the creation of society as a living organism. Arts, culture and philosophical dilemmas are not indulgences – they are essential for inciting free expression and robust intellectual engagement.
The artistic work that we've spent quality and passionate time with in the past couple of days is titled Self Defense.
Joni Renee Whitworth is a poet and performer who enchanted us, the audience, with their profound lyrics and movements/composition, which work in cohesion with one another.
Review written by Dimitar D.
There are several ways to approach Self Defense. The soul would notice Whitworth’s genuine communication with the audience, and the devoted eye would track the hand's movements which are discreet yet consistent as an essential part of the framework. The performance is lively or static, telling or showing, intentionally ambiguous or direct, depending on the messages the poetry conveys at a pivotal moment or the creative choice the artist made for elaborating on a specific subject.
As said, the performance uses various techniques both in the picture and sound. When Whitworth wants us to focus on their eyes, mouth and all emotions that unravel behind the facial expressions, they use close-ups. This is also present when a certain topic reaches the culmination and tries to make a point. On the other side are defocused shots, the performer amalgamated with darkness, double editing and distortion. The picture also uses objects and vast narrative spaces as diegetic.
Besides the thought-provoking picture and author’s performance, it’s inevitable to notice the work done on the sound and narration. Let’s not forget that Whitworth is a poet who uses the power of lyrics to express themselves. Whitworth’s voice possesses an authentic melody and proper diction to enhance the atmosphere and express opinions and facts most genuinely on subjects such as the US health care system, the complex interpersonal relationship, the power of feminism and why we need it, the emotional catharsis, autism and how we, as active components of the society, marginalize people with disabilities. Self Defense is not afraid to speak openly and criticize with substantial facts. Thus, in those cathartic moments of self-exploration, identity and gravity, the performer allows us pauses and spaces to contemplate the recent discoveries.
Therefore, in twenty-two minutes, we experience a myriad of emotions. This is why we feel that we've made a profound connection with Joni Renee Whitworth after the initial experience, not to mention the several more re-watches and analyses. In conclusion, Self Defense is a powerful art performance that surpasses any preconceived notions of what art means and forges a new journey for the open-minded viewer who acknowledges Self Defense as socially and politically conscious. At the same time, Whitworth says – here I am, with my body and soul and everything I represent, standing in front of you. And we must listen carefully.