It Started With A Murder, # Expt. 1, (Jan 2013), © Susan Young
It Started With A Murder:
This three-minute silent animated film forms part of my practice-based PhD at the Royal College of Art entitled: ‘Bearing Witness: Autoethnographic Animation and the Metabolism of Trauma.’ My motivations for this research were the multiple traumas I experienced, beginning in 1994 when I married my ex-husband, who attempted to murder me, and continuing as I journeyed through the UK psychiatric system, where I was treated for this trauma but experienced further abuse from clinicians.
In order to explore the trauma associated with what happened on the night of my attempted murder, this film uses stop-frame animation of related legal documents to connect with my memories and feelings of the event through the juxtaposition of these documents alongside images of flesh, blood and light. My aim was to free myself from the prison of the past by using this textual, evocative and symbolic visual material to metabolize and rescript my trauma, making use of juxtaposition and editing within the animation process to alter how the events are portrayed, and their outcome. This process has enabled me to experience feelings of empowerment and control over events where previously I had none, and screenings of the works have also functioned as a further transformative tool and a way of bearing witness.