Touching on society’s obsession with youth and beauty, Jesper Just’s 2015 film Servitudes—featuring Dree Hemingway—explores the tension between identity, femininity, and commodity. This installation plays throughout the billboards of Times Square, spanning from 42nd to 47th Streets and between Broadway and 7th Avenue, every night in November as part of Midnight Moment.
Servitudes explores the tension between femininity and autonomy in our capitalist society. A young girl (Hemingway) sits alone in an office eating corn. Her hands are secured by Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) devices which both aid and hinder her ability to eat. As a symbolic nod to the disparity between identity and commodity, the individual and social constructs, the woman in the film’s interaction with the audience waivers between flirtation and apathy.
“Servitudes is not an individual but a construct, the embodiment of a social mechanism. She cannot criticize a system whose existence inherently begets her existence. This tension is expressed in her actions--as she eats the corn, her hands are restrained. Even the corn itself relates back to the political system--a world of GMOS and capital gain. She too is modified, manipulated, a pawn in a power play that is both hidden and transparent.” - Jesper Just