Shelly is a video work developed entirely on Snapchat, the ubiquitous social media app known for its face altering (or filtered) features. The piece includes filtered selfie video “diaries” by Shelly, a Sparta, Kentucky native who has exhausted her savings on a three month Airbnb rental in Bushwick, Brooklyn to explore New York City. Shelly’s only link between her upbringing and the Arts is a little known poet and artist, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927), who briefly lived in Sparta upon arriving in in the United States in 1910. Some scholars have argued that Freytag-Loringhoven later went on to gift “Fountain” to Marcel Duchamp in 1917, potentially making her one of the most important marginalized art historical figures of the 20th century. The space between Shelly and Baroness Elsa is one of marginality, both somber and playful in its liminality. What Shelly finds, arriving in New York City 100 years after the Baroness inhabited it, is the difficult task of parsing her disparity and her wonderment, her curiosity and her limitations. Though Shelly could never afford to stay in New York, her meanderings in the city are meaningful for their short-lived revelations. Alongside her confessional videos, a simultaneous scopophilia arises as she begins to obsessively video document museum-goers at the moment they capture a photograph of an artwork on their phones. This dual address of the private and public sheds light on smartphone technology as a form of embodiment, elucidation, connection, and at times, detachment.

  • Katie Vida
  • Katie Vida
  • Katie Vida
  • Katie Vida
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Experimental, Drama
  • Runtime:
    44 minutes 58 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital iPhone
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2048 × 1080
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Brussels Independent Film Festival
    February 9, 2020
    World Premiere
    Best Experimental Film
  • Obskuur Ghent Film Festival
    July 12, 2020
    Best Underground Film
Director Biography - Katie Vida

Katie Vida (Brooklyn, NY) is an interdisciplinary artist. Vida is the recipient of fellowships at The MacDowell Colony, Shandaken Project, VCUQatar and Fanoon: Center for Print Media Research (Doha, Qatar), Yaddo, Millay Colony, and the Budapest Puppet Theater (Budapest, Hungary) among others. Vida has presented work at venues including: Microscope Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), The Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery at SUNY Purchase (Purchase, NY), ALLGOLD MoMA PS1 (Queens, NY), Creative Time (New York, NY), Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT), The Luggage Store (San Francisco, CA), and was awarded Best Experimental Film for “Shelly” at the Brussels Independent Film Festival in 2020.

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Director Statement

I am an interdisciplinary visual artist working across fields of performance, sound, and video art to explore themes of authorship, identity, and queer + feminist historical narratives. Often favoring the quotidian as subject matter, my work takes on an experimental approach to available media and readymade technologies (smartphone apps etc), rather than privileging the highly produced, at times prodding at or satirizing the latter. My approach engages self-reflexively and sometimes humorously with the subject of artistic production and pursuit, unpacking what it means to be a maker in the contemporary milieu.