Valerie Lighthart's 'Girl In Parts' takes a dark journey through identity
It’s been a couple years since Milwaukee multi-platform artist Valerie Lighthart released her EP PT 1: THE GODDESS (the first in Lighthart’s trilogy of EPs), which included the song “Girl In Parts.” But just because the EP flew out of the nest didn’t mean the work ended for Lighthart, who just shared her ambitious video for the song, visually calling to mind the many facets of what it means to be a femme under the microscope of the public — and personal — gaze.
“Am I lovable, honey? Do I look like money? I know what I’m not.” Lighthart delivers those questions and that statement as she squirms and dances in the guises of child, woman, dancer and entertainer, taking her bow at the video’s inconclusive end where any possible answers are only left swirling in doubt.
Lighthart says the song was brought into the world in the witching hours, penned feverishly in an intense bout of emotion. Inspired by unpacking a difficult relationship with validation and self-worth, it probes for an answer to insecurity while the sonic landscape undulates between soft vulnerability and hard baggage, punctuated with a self-aware and sardonic sensibility.
“[It’s] a surrealistic and dream-like exploration of themes surrounding performance, vulnerability and blurring the line between the public gaze and the personal gaze,” Lighthart continued, noting that it’s inspired by a quote from Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride:
Even pretending you aren't catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you're unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.
“[The song and video] interrogates what it means to inherit a digital landscape flooded with warped funhouse mirror images of yourself reflecting back at you,” Lighthart concluded.
The video for “Girl In Parts” was a team effort that included Lighthart, Taylor Wolter and Sarah Rose as co-creators, as well as additional help from Xavier Schatezke, Pep Zestava and Spencer Tait. You can watch it at the top of the page, and get more info on Lighthart via her website and her Bandcamp page.