The Metamorphosis (Daphne in 4 Parts)

HD digital video, 19:30 min, 2014

Daphne…, a heavily-effected live-action video from 2014, served as a precursor to later works in the Avatar Poetics series which went on to employ motion-capture techniques and fully digital animated characters.

This piece is an attempted re-staging of the myth of Daphne & Apollo from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, an epic poem of supernatural desire, punishment, and arboreal transformation. The idea began from a simple premise: what would this story sound like today, if told from Daphne’s point of view?

In the original text, Daphne is a nymph and free spirit who is pursued by the lustful Apollo, and is ultimately punished for rejecting his advances. Throughout, she is told her beauty is the true culprit, and her ‘punishment’ — turning into a tree — is presented as an act of desperation, but also one of refusal and liberation.

Here, Daphne is framed as an interview subject, in the style of therapy case-studies or reality-show confessionals. She is fragmented but lucid; defiant, self-aware, and continuously morphing and dissolving into a polymorphous hybrid of human and plant-like forms. It’s unclear if she is a victim of trauma-inspired delusion, or if her imagination and willpower effected an actual transformation of physical form and consciousness.