< |   Medea   | >


35 mm HD transfer
Colour, sound
13.20 min

The ancient legend of Medea contrasts two oppositional worlds – the old archaic world of Medea and the modern rational world of Jason. With a script by academic Patricia MacCormack, Mayer riffs on Pasolini’s version of ‘Medea’ (1969), a version that enacts the collision between ancient ritual and modern rationality. Mayer’s rendition of Medea moves the narrative still further, to meditate upon the possible emancipatory potentials of renegotiated gender formations and posthuman ontology.

Postgender Riot Grrrl JD Samson plays both the characters of Medea and Jason, with the distinction between these individuals becoming increasingly fluid and interchangeable. This ever-diminishing dance between Medea and Jason, as archetypal exemplars of the male/female binary distinction, finally implodes. The film pivots around this collapse of binaries and the resulting threshold-inhabiting figure, where ambiguous bodies become the nexus of myth and gender.

Medea, with her blend of both traditionally masculine and feminine attributes, is an iconic figure of proto gender fluidity from antiquity. As honey drips from fingers and amber earpieces pulls on flesh, Samson’s body is festooned with mystically resonant objects, invoking Medea’s position as a sorceress. Emphasising Medea as a sorceress, a figure that can re-direct flows and reconfigure matter, further reinforces the symbolic potential for reconstituted materiality effectuated through a postgender and posthuman subject. By visualising alternative modalities of being in the world, ‘Medea’ provides escape routes from hegemonic structures which manipulate gender binaries in order to police subject formation.