Artist: Florence and the Machine
Source: Battlestar Galactica
Summary: "Tell me what you want me to say!" - Kara
Acknowledgments: Without m_a_r_i_k_s this vid would not exist. The work she did on it goes far beyond 'regular' beta-ing and audiencing. While it is my vision, it is m_a_r_i_k_s who gave me the space to create it and held that space for me when I faltered. Thank you, dearest!
Download: 76 MB mp4 (zipped)
Notes: These notes get lengthy, and I'd prefer if you didn't read them until you've watched the vid (and no need then either if not so inclined!. They're really a personal record of what it took to be able to make this.
This vid is born out of a personal and intuitive connection to a character. If anyone remembers me from Battlestar fandom when the show was airing, they may be surprised by that, since I was always such a hardcore 'Lee' girl, and claimed not to understand Kara at all. I could never have made this vid while the show was airing--not, actually, because I didn't understand her, but because I was blocked from that part of myself that DID, very much.
The block is and was a personal one first of all, but it was greatly reinforced and validated by the noisiness of 'Starbuck' fandom. In saying that, I mean absolutely no personal criticism of specific fans. The fact that Battlestar generated such passionate attachments to specific characters is one of its great beauties and I would never want to take away from that. Had I been stronger enough in my own identity, I could have withstood the interpretations of others far easier.
The problem for me is that I like *Kara* far more than I like 'Starbuck'. I'm not suggesting that they're not one and the same person, but I do think you can quite clearly see a public outward persona that Kara Thrace adopts, as a mask and shield. It comes from a real part of her, and some of it (her honesty in calling other people on their shit, for instance) I love very much. But when she's really in that over-the-top 'you may refer to me as GOD' personality I find it alienating. It's not the primary part of her that I love. However, it *is* the part that generates an AWFUL lot of fangirling.
I didn't connect with Kara in the mini. It took me a while with her (unlike with Lee) and when I did have flickers of affection for and empathy with her I quickly buried it, largely out of respect to the many LOUD and VIGOROUS Kara (Starbuck) fans, whose words about what she was feeling didn't always tally with what I felt in those momentary flickers. I started 'turning off' my own intuitive antenna. I started deferring to others, and it was especially easy to do when she was in a scene with Lee because often my first sympathies lay with him anyway and then there were always plenty of people willing to tell me indignantly why Kara felt he was in the wrong and was so frustrated with him, etc. etc. I listened like a good little schoolgirl.
The main thing that I found ignored or overlooked by these fans was how chronically FUCKED UP Kara was. They seemed to worship her fucked-up-ness, if anything, and long for her to STAY IN IT. Kara is a character at war with herself. The battle is rarely (if ever?) expressed in dialogue, but it shows in her contradictory actions. The thing which I dislike the most in what I'll call 'Starbuck' fandom is this unwillingness to see Kara be vulnerable. Ever. As if vulnerability is 'weakness'. Well, sorry, that's the kind of bullshit Kara's own mind is bullying herself with ... crap that her mother taught her. Alas, in Battlestar fandom it was sometimes embraced as 'feminism'. I hated that and felt guilty for loving Kara very much in her vulnerable moments (even if that vulnerability was still masked by violence or defiance). I longed for her to embrace that aspect of herself more, and I feel strongly that it's only through that that she can grow as a person. To be not just a collection of coping mechanisms strung together with adrenalin and alcohol. Perhaps unlike many, I feel that growing in that way would make her MORE COOL, not less. And when I did see such growth--in some scenes in Maelstrom and Six of One, for instance--I adored it. But I kept quiet. And respectfully stayed in my neatly defined 'Lee' box. Because what the fuck would I know?
When I say I was blocked, I mean really really firmly blocked. Me from a couple of years ago would have denied totally having any understanding of Kara. And I would have thought it a terrible sacrilege for ME to make a vid of her. As if I didn't have a right to my own version of Kara that I saw... as if other people's visions were the only legitimate ones... Kara is a character that so many people project their own stuff onto. And she legitimately has so many different aspects to explore! Yet I handed over the rights to that to other people.
A large part of that is, I suppose, because the part of me that relates very strongly to Kara, and some specific threads in her personality particularly, is one I'm not comfortable with and which carries a lot of pain. That's fitting, I suppose, as Kara isn't comfortable with aspects--often the same aspects--of herself either! ;) She also tries to bury and deny them. So strongly that were you to ask her she would deny any such feeling at all.
This vid is made from a place slightly beneath that layer of denial. What I discovered first of all in vidding Kara for the first time is how 'in her face' everything is--people, situations, LIFE. She bounces from one adrenalised situation to another, and it's exhausting actually, but she rarely slows down and lets herself feel it. No wonder--I realised--she punches people so often. :p I also developed a strong 'arrrrgh, get out of my fucking face!' feeling while clipping for the vid. ;)
Kara is far more emotional than people allow her to be when describing her. Sure, she's tough and she puts on a brave face--and people see that and respond to it enthusiastically (probably wishing they could themselves be so 'tough')--but she's a mess of raw emotions underneath and it makes her very very beautiful, actually. Vidding the 'Farm' sequence of this vid was one of the most rewarding aspects of this vid for me, because through it I really got to feel how enormous that life experience was for her--there were so many layers of emotion which she had to work through in such an incredibly short amount of time, and the result was that different aspects sort of fused together in her mind and heart. I really wanted to capture that bewildering experience as an example of the sort of inner turmoil she is actually in FREQUENTLY on an unconscious level. And why it leaves her so unprepared to deal with Lee and his apparent 'demands'. Why it results in her rejection of him or contradictory push-pull behaviour with him. Kara often responds to Lee as a 'threat' because he sneaks under her defenses. And I can understand that very strongly. She may not be consciously aware of it. It doesn't matter. It's clear anyway.
One of the things that first made me realise that I do, in fact, have a 'Kara' part that was repressed inside me was acknowledging that I have actually had tons of songs, over the years, that I've thought of as 'Kara' songs, but I have talked myself out of vidding (or, worse, never even considered vidding) them, because of how 'real' Kara fans would react to them. Well fuck that shit. I don't care what other people think because this is about me reclaiming part of MY heart, not anyone else's. Other people should do what they need to do.
The bullshit I told myself was that I had too 'sentimental' a view of Kara, that my view of her was influenced by being a Lee fan (i.e. I wanted her to be more how Lee would want her to be) or a shipper (i.e. I just wanted whatever would make the ship work). I let go of that crap to make this. And I looked instead with fresh eyes to see 'who is Kara really? and if I love her, why do I love her?'
I had started playing with several tracks but this one just TOOK OFF. The bulk of it came together very quickly. Having said that, I only began it probably about nine months after I first had a breakthrough (and breakdown) about having cut off and rejected this Kara-intuitive aspect of myself. Yeah, I fidgeted and procrastinated and 'sorted' inside myself for a really really long time before I could actually sit down with a timeline. That period, also, although invisible and even largely subconscious, was also a part of the generation process of this vid.
Now I fear you may not be able to stop me vidding Kara more. :p In the past I might have worried about how oversaturated with Kara vids the fandom is, or how no one wants to see my version of her or how no one even cares any more about BSG. But this is not the sort of vid you make to please an audience. ;p And I'm happy to say that I feel vidding this has been personally liberating.
APOLOGY: Sorry to everyone that watched and downloaded the first version with the shitty aspect ratio! It is corrected now.
This entry was originally posted at http://bop-radar.dreamwidth.org/241592.html. comments Comment here or there, as you will.