Ana Cardoso Marques
Retribution: Grieving for The Living
Retribution is about pain. The experience of being alive is quite a painful one, especially living in our society as a woman. In our “modern” society, women’s bodily autonomy is stolen from them, their worth as human beings tends to be based on whether or not men find them sexually attractive, and they are constantly degraded and forced to be judged against impossible standards of beauty, they are frequently victims of gendered violence, and so on. Growing up as a teenaged girl is such a complicated, traumatic, and calamitous time; trying to develop an ordinary and well-adjusted human brain under a ridiculous amount of pressure to be perfect and conform but also stand out while also being sexualised for not having really matured and being mocked for everything you do is unsurprisingly extremely difficult. The experience is remarkably similar to that of the girls coming of age in horror movies, as apart from the supernatural elements, the horror is not really exaggerated. Horror movies about the coming of age of women and girls are fascinating because for once, the things they go through are not dismissed and treated as normal occurrences. They are not considered to be “overreacting” when they are concerned about the changes to their bodies or minds, or about the way they are being treated by others, etc.
The images in Retribution are manipulated composites made from photographs of antidepressant packaging and blood, acting as a representation of personal pain and struggles with staying alive, as well as stills from various horror films, particularly ones focusing on women’s stories of coming of age and experiences more unique to womanhood, to express all of this.