If 6 Was 9
IF 6 WAS 9 is a video installation and short film about teenage girls and sexuality. It is based on research and real events, but the story itself and the dialogues are a fictional combination of various elements.
The work features five girls aged 13-15 as the main protagonists. The episodes depict events in their daily lives and scenes from their hometown, Helsinki. The girls chat amongst themselves and speak directly to the camera, sharing their experiences and thoughts on sex. They play basketball, hang out with friends, reminisce about a ViewMaster version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and pass around porn-magazine clippings showing the best places in town to have sex outdoors.
The work offers a glimpse into the lives of girls on the threshold of womanhood, exploring their sexual fantasies, memories, habits, hopes and dreams. It shows an ongoing metamorphosis from childhood to adulthood. The girls want to possess the world, to embrace it with their arms, legs, cheeks, tits and arses. Their hopes, memories and thoughts, and events in their lives form a non-chronological narrative fabric, and the installation space becomes a ‘body’ of separate parts, each moving at a different pace and rhythm.
IF 6 WAS 9 is split into three adjacent images, forming a synchronized triple-screen narrative. The narrative unfolds in parallel movements across the screens, with images contrasting and reacting to each other. Occasionally the three images appear to create a simultaneous event, e.g. when a sequence in which girls address monologues to camera in different shots is edited to give a feel of dialogue. Each screen shows a different perspective on a given place, and the three shots sometimes converge to form a single picture plane.
The sounds are projected from where they appear to emanate on screen: the soundtrack thus echoes the horizontal movement of the triple-screen narrative. The division and convergence of the three screens reflects the reality of the events as the girls experience them – the narrative is never confined to a single shot, but cuts from one image to the next, simultaneously spilling over into the other two images.