Type of Thesis
Art & Art History
Abstract for "Fenja and Menja Moil at the Mill"
Through my video installation I interpret an Old Norse myth in a new way. My aim is to replace the male gaze with my own while imagining the myth in a modern context. Fenja and Menja were two giantesses from Sweden purchased as slaves who were content to grind gold on a magic mill at the bottom of the ocean. They eventually asked King Fródi to release them. He reveals that they will grind for eternity. Menja, full of rage tells Fródi he will soon die, and he does. The origin of the mythology comes from a pagan oral tradition and is eventually recorded from a Christian perspective and bias. It sets a precedent that these myths are stories that have been and should be reinterpreted through time as myth serves the purpose of setting parameters on human behavior.
For this installation I have augmented the shape of the room by building walls and projecting my video into a corner, this way my installation wraps around the viewer. I discovered it is about shifting the power of the male gaze by becoming the one gazing, in turn the viewer is in my stead and they become the female gazing. The experience of large-scale deep perspective video transcends from my perspective looking out to the viewer virtually feeling the sand and water. In the same way the giantesses' perspective changes from slave to agent so the audience also undergoes a transformation.
Sparks, Michelle, "Fenja and Menja Moil at the Mill, A Visual Modern Interpretation of Female Role in Old Norse Mythology" (2015). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 925.