Terril Calder

Vessel Synopsis
Vessel explores the hollowness of vanity.

The pursuit of fame and visibility within our

contemporary culture leaves people scrambling

for answers before they are asked. To brand them

to the market for mass consumption and to iron out attributes within their personality that might mar their market value. The desire for visibility and fame one needs to apply a strategy for success to manipulate the situation.  An effective tool when trying to get others to respond to you is to “Ape” and to mirror their personalities back to them and show very little self expression beyond delight and fascination with them. To void yourself of contrariness that might arise if you unleash your personality. A “lady” must be compliant and be gentle in nature. This removal of self is the basis for this short film. One’s hollowed form is that of a living doll. This way you really can be everything to everyone and diversify yourself to meet varied expectations. Both the shell and the soul can be manipulated by cosmetic reconstruction to achieve mass approval.  Perhaps not approval of whom you are but approval of the vessel that you represent, or you as a living doll. People create intense bonds to their baby dolls, teddy bears, and even sex dolls. They are malleable lifeless vessels who are loved and cherished. Voodoo dolls are used for revenge, sex dolls for lust, sculpted figures for immortality. We create vessel in our own image as a preoccupation with the self. We project ourselves into our celebrities,  pets and our children. It is this projection of ourselves into the “doll vessel” that I find fascinating. Without empirical evidence we feel we know how they are feeling. The animation doll evokes feeling yet it is just a sculptured representation of a living thing. It has no emotions or feelings yet it elicits concern from the viewer. We empathize with it? As an artist and a sculpture I see the object I see its mechanics. I have curiosity about how it is constructed. My examination table opens the object for inspection at times the object looks like a baby doll at time the object looks like a Barbie doll or a blow up doll. Is the object a victim? It remains an object and nothing more than a hollow vessel, a piñata that was created by me as a vehicle for my vain attempt at visibility? It is a contradiction to my Aboriginal teachings as we are taught that humility is one of the seven sacred lessons. That vanity is a path to emptiness.



Commissioned by Cinema Zuid,

Netherlands One Minute Film series

Country of Origin: Canada

Audio: South River Sound
Michael Dilauro & Shawn Delnick

HD Cam

Distributor: VTape