Zenosyne

Zenosyne

By Molly Smith '25

Zenosyne

My film, Zenosyne, manifests the reflection I've had after my first year of college. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit my senior year of high school, I decided to take a year off before attending college. While this year was formative and led to self-reflection, I had not yet experienced a true severing of my high school/childhood identity and college/adult identity. I was still living in my hometown with my family. Once I left home, I realized the things I missed. There were elements of my past that I realized I would never return to - my childhood, my high school, etc. A video of my mother asking me, "What do you see out there?" opens the film, signifying the wonder and anxiety of exploration and growth, whether for the first time as a child or an adult. I created this piece through personal home video footage and archival news clips to demonstrate how time moves faster as you grow older and everything you've experienced in life culminates in your identity. 

The song that accompanies the film demonstrates the central themes of love for your past, present, and future self and how time slips through our fingers. The lyrics, "Come let me love you," are repeated throughout as a representation of loving yourself as a child despite your faults, loving yourself as a teen despite your embarrassing moments, and loving yourself as an adult despite how much you have to learn. At the film's climax, the lyrics say, "All these useless dreams of living… So come let me love you." I interpreted it to mean loving others and giving love despite the images of hate in the world and the national trauma Generation Z has faced (9/11, The rise of school shootings, political unrest, Covid 19, etc.). It also says that life essentially means nothing without love, something I experienced more vividly this year being away from my loved ones for so long and meeting a new group of people I've come to love as much as my own family. 



This song has always been an inspiration to me, and I've seen it as a song that really describes the purpose of living. When I was 17, I learned to play guitar, but I only knew how to play one song. My grandmother was in the hospital during her last days of a long battle with cancer, and she asked me to play guitar for her. "Colour Me In" was the one song I could play, so I played it for four hours, and to this day, I will never forget the chords. A video of me playing the song for her plays under the film's credits. This event inspired the film to represent the heaven that she might have imagined as I played the song for her that day. The dancers are dressed in all white, and the lighting makes them glow over the projections, depicting angels. The idea of "life flashing before your eyes" is demonstrated by how the projections quickly rewind near the end, showing everything that led up to the final moments. The dancers then exit stage one by one, transitioning to a new life, whether that be adulthood or, in the case of my grandmother, the afterlife. 



The projections began with collecting home videotapes. I gathered many of these for my second media project, finding old VHS tapes, digital cameras, and hard drives. I also gathered footage from each of the dancers in the piece to showcase that this was not a purely individual experience - the difficulties of transitioning to adulthood after a period of national trauma were something we could all relate to. At the film's climax, the projections change to show the national events that shaped our identities. I pulled this footage from various sources, including news outlets, Youtube, and personal footage of protests. After the quick rewind moment, we return to footage of our childhood selves, loving them for all their faults and thanking them for the life they gave us. 

I struggled with how to showcase the projections for the film and ultimately decided to overlay them on top of the dance footage and change the blending mode so it appears that we are dancing within the frame and glowing over top of the footage. My frustration with the live performance was that it was difficult to watch both the projections and the dance at the same time, and this solved that issue. This represents my feelings of reflection on what has shaped me and the title, Zenosyne, describes precisely what I wanted to capture. The film is the project in its truest form.