Sophia Al Maria
With Bai Ling.
Chinese-American actress Bai Ling (The Crow, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, Entourage, Wild Wild West) is the protagonist of the installation Mirror Cookie (2018). Al-Maria sought to work with an actor who is a veteran and survivor of the misogyny industrial complex of Hollywood.
Inspired by Bai’s apparent indifference to the racism, homophobia and sexism of the violent gaze she is subjected to in social and tabloid media, the installation invites Bai to explore the boundaries of the in-screen matrix she occupies. The presentation seeks to free her public persona from the abjection projected onto her in the popular imagination of tabloids such as TMZ whose stock-in-trade is to troll.
A fan of Bai Ling’s blog since the early 2000s, Al-Maria was curious about a recurring motif in Bai’s posts referencing ‘cookie’. For a long time Sophia assumed that this ‘cookie’ was a person, perhaps a secret lover. But in fact Bai was writing positive, loving self-affirmations. Mirror Cookie takes a collection of Bai’s ‘cookies’ and organizes them into a disjointed monologue referencing the self-help practice of ‘mirror work’. This slowly becomes an impassioned improvisation delivered directly to camera, as if the fourth wall she is breaking is a reflection.