Kitty Von-Sometime releases new video that focuses on an unspecified non-gendered dystopian being.
Kitty Von-Sometime, the mastermind behind the long-running The Weird Girls Project, has a new video piece out. It accompanies a single from the anonymous music collective KERAI, whose album is presented as the voice of a non-gendered being of unknown origin. We talked with Kitty about the video, The Weird Girls Project, and a retreat she’s hosting in the Westfjords this fall.
Where did the idea for the new piece come from?
“I actually matched with someone on Tinder in London a while ago and after a little bit of a chat I just thought I’d delete Tinder for a while, because I do that often. But I said to them, I find you really interesting, so if you wanna add me on Facebook, do so. They reached out sometime later and said, I really like your video work, any chance you’d be interested in making a video that would be a collaboration with a single that we’re gonna release? I really liked the music, so I said yes. We hadn’t even met.
“I was very much a tomboy and played football and rugby before I got put in that school and they tried to stamp it out of me.”
They gave me the criteria that they’re presenting the entire album as the voice of a being that’s non-gendered, with no specification whether it’s an alien or a future dystopian breed of human. It’s unclassified and that’s the outline I was given. The idea I incorporated into it was that this being was alone in a post-apocalyptic future and desperately trying to find other creatures to have intimacy with and could not find any. So it focused on collecting these inanimate objects and have some sort of identification of intimacy and that’s the core of the video.”
It’s darker than your usual work, is there a specific reason for that?
“I felt the track led me there. The band initially wanted to have this creature in more Eden-esque Icelandic surroundings, but I liked the concept of producing a video that was shot in Iceland but didn’t look like Iceland. As glorious as this country is, sometimes it’s nice to not have waterfalls and glaciers in every video. I really enjoy bringing in a dark element. When I’m working with The Weird Girls Project I try to project more strength – not necessarily going away from dark imagery but at least not quite as creepy. I just enjoy doing different aesthetics, really. I wanted to produce something that was in a location that was epic when you saw it and I feel like we managed to do that.”
The collective behind the music is a very secretive group. Can you tell us anything about them?
“No I can’t! It’s a completely anonymous situation and that’s how they want to maintain it as they push forward with their release, so I’m going to respect that.”
The outsider perspective seems to be something of a starting point for the collective. Do you share that approach or do you bring a lot of yourself into your art?
“I bring myself very heavily into my art, more so on personal pieces like this than The Weird Girls Project. I often feel like an outsider, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. It just means you get a different perspective. Obviously I feel a bit weird these days, because I’ve lived in Iceland for 12 years and my Englishness has fallen by the wayside in so many areas, but I’m still so frigging English compared to a lot of Icelandic reference points, culture and behaviour. So I feel a lot like an outsider in many ways. But that’s not necessarily negative.”
What motivates you to use gender as a subject in your projects?
“I’ve always found gender to be very interesting. I don’t know if it’s because I was put in a girls’ school before I was a teenager and had etiquette lessons and was taught how to get in and out of a car in a ladylike fashion. I was very much a tomboy and played football and rugby before I got put in that school and they tried to stamp it out of me. I also have a condition which causes me have very high testosterone levels for a woman and I take meds for it. When the testosterone is proactive in my system, I’m very aware of it and I think it’s probably increased my interest in what it theoretically is to be masculine or feminine, more than what it is to be a boy or a girl or whatever.
“When the testosterone is proactive in my system, I’m very aware of it and I think it’s probably increased my interest in what it theoretically is to be masculine or feminine, more than what it is to be a boy or a girl or whatever.”
When I was 17 and doing my first psychology paper I chose the topic of what was then called the third sex, basically non-gender binary. Of course The Weird Girls Project is gendered and started over a decade ago. Now I think really if I could go back and change the name I would have changed it twelve times by now. But it started from the commentary on how female figures were portrayed and the social pressure as a woman to be a certain model size. It ties into gender and I know that the Project’s name is gendered and I’m trying to make it more open to female identifying people, rather than saying it’s for women. Although at this stage I think media pressure is hitting men in a way that’s as if we haven’t learnt anything.”
What else do you have coming up?
“I’m going to be taking part in choreographer Unnur Elísabet Gunnarsdóttir’s project “Ég býð mig fram” and produce a video for her series in the next month.”
Can we expect anything from The Weird Girls Project in the coming months?
“I’m hosting a retreat in September called The Weird Experience and that is based around The Weird Girls Project ethos. There will be an episode produced shortly after in the Westfjords with people who have attended the retreat, as well as local Westfjord women.”
Can you tell us more about the retreat?
“The retreat will apply a lot of what I have learned from producing the project, along from my own development and research. As life rolls merrily by, I’ve realised more and more the importance of self-care. Making sure to take time out occasionally to realign your aims in life and figure out what’s important. Not to keep pushing through constantly as your health and wellbeing can suffer dramatically if you do not check yourself now and then. It’s a combination of reviewing your daily routine and having some helpful reminders and practical approaches to enable the women attending to leave feeling like they’ve taken a deep breath and realigned everything. There will be workshops, discussions, activities and adventures. It’s held in collaboration with The Blue Bank center in Þingeyri. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m very excited!”