Lift Me Up

Artist: Ana Barahona
Year: 2015
Medium: Video
Artist Statement: The song featured in this video is “Lift me up” by Nico and Vinz. For this performance, the style of dance used is hip hop. Hip hop is not one generally used to tell a story since it is more “tricks” oriented, unlike other styles such as contemporary or lyrical dance. Therefore this performance relied heavily on imagery and props to help tell the story. The routine alternates between slow and fast movements, representing an insecure life, in which one hesitates often, not sure whether what they are doing is right or wrong. The movements also represent an unstable environment that sends you up and down, side to side, never being able to stay in one place. The mask represents an individual who is seen as “different”, and has various negative labels representing those applied to people with mental health histories. Prior to filming, I went and asked friends and family to say words that came to mind when they think of mental health; sadly the words written on the mask were what they said. The dance reflects the struggle of an individual, and their wanting to belong and be accepted. As seen in the video I am alone in various locations, in a forest, alley, and even in the most crowded areas, I was still standing alone while people just walked by. The lyric “I’m just like you” is what influenced the addition of all these individuals, it was an effort to portray that all humans are humans, with individuals possessing unique qualities and yet at the same time bearing so many similarities. Yet amongst all these people there is someone wearing this mask. The routine and video project is promoting the idea of acceptance and having a “seat at the table”; allowing people who have been labelled to have a say in their treatment, and at the same time treating each other equally. Mad people are still people after all, and just like anyone else they have rights.