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*Midwestern Last Name* Family Reunion

Elle Schwiderson


*Midwestern Last Name* Family Reunion is a stop-motion animated film that is a culmination of my interdisciplinary art practice. Painting, puppets, performance, visual storytelling, and music are all present. This installation tells the story of my annual family reunion with an existential twist. Much of the research I found was grounded in existential philosophy, ranging from Nietzsche to Nier: Automata.

I focus heavily on how my identity as a queer person interacts/clashes with my familial structure. Family, especially as a queer person, is a very complicated thing. My aim for this project was to portray the nuances of my family members through their authentic actions and dialogue. As the project went on, it became increasingly important to have members of my chosen, queer family be the voice actors of my given family. Lastly, I want to honor my great grandmother Elaine Smith, who recently passed away at the age of 93. Without her love and support I would not have been able to make this film and installation.

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