Pieces of Herself

Pieces of Herself

At ironic and playful polemic, Pieces of Herself uses the motif of the dress-up doll to explore issues of gender identity in the context of home, work, and community. As the user explores the black-and-white spaces of the text (the shower, bedroom, outside, kitchen, living room, office, and Main Street), she encounters a variety of colored objects that she can drag onto the outline of a body, metaphoric acts of inscription that trigger audio files ranging from music to a biblical pronouncement about the "proper" socio-cultural function of women. What emerges from play with the seemingly disconnected pieces is a notion of the gendered subject that is both culturally produced (discursive) and singularly embodied (material).


Author description: Pieces of Herself is an exploration of feminine embodiment and identity in relationship to public and private space. Using a drag-and-drop game interface, viewers scroll through familiar environments (e.g., domestic, outdoor, work) to collect metaphorical "pieces" of the self and arrange them in compositions inside the body. As each piece enters the body, it triggers audio clips from interviews with women, music loops, and sound effects, resulting in a layered narrative. The project, which was inspired by Elizabeth Grosz's theories about embodiment, comments on social inscription of the body. The environments are composites of more than 400 photographs; the pieces include 40 vector drawings, and the audio clips include segments from interviews with 10 women.

Instructions: Requires Flash

Previous publication: This project has appeared in Leonardo, Iowa Review Web, Drunken Boat, Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), MAXXI Museum (Rome), Tampa Museum of Art (USA), International Festival for Computer-based Art (Dresden), FILE (Rio and Sao Paulo), Chico.art.net (CSU, USA), prog:ME (Rio), and many other spaces.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

The Electronic Literature Lab could not preserve this Flash work with Ruffle in February 2021. We do plan to preserve it with Conifer at a later date.