“Hitching a Ride to Heaven: The Confessional as Found Footage.” Found Footage Magazine 7 (March 2021): 44-53.
Given the proliferation of online confessional videos, it should come as no surprise that artists have appropriated them and incorporated them into their own artworks. The confessional video is often emotional and candid, a raw glimpse into the emotional turmoil and struggles of others. Given the nature of the confessional—an individual’s private reflections on their struggles, thoughts, actions, and behaviours that are considered shameful or disgraceful—it is a mode ripe for interrogation and hermeneutic readings. The confessional is a way in which the confessor acknowledges and recognizes deviations from accepted societal norms and values; therefore, by analyzing the confessional it is possible to unpack the underlying economic, political or ideological conditions that ultimately led one to confess. Through appropriation, the raw underlying emotions of the confessional can be used by artists to construct new narratives and sensations.
In this essay, I provide a brief historical overview of the confessional, focusing on its social and political functions. I discuss artistic uses of the confessional mode and the relationship to its contemporary form, the online confessional video. Finally, I examine several moving image artworks that are constructed from appropriated, deeply personal confessionals, including The Pain of Others (Penny Lane, 2018); Watching the Pain of Others (Chloé Galibert-Laîné, 2018); Danny (Lewis Bennett & Aaron Zeghers, 1993/2019); and INSIDEOUT (Tonje Alice Madsen, 2010).
The Compulsion to Confess
The confession has undergone radical changes in the twentieth century, moving outside of formal institutions and beyond traditional theological, psychoanalytical, and criminological contexts. Yet within us lies an underlying compulsion to confess and the confessional still remains an active site of power exchange. Social theorists Susan van Zyl and James Sey suggest that:
[…] one of the most striking things about the late twentieth century in the West is the fact that despite the existence of a strenuously secular culture, and the ongoing disappearance of formal institutions of confession, the compulsion to confess, even in the most unlikely of contexts, is still unmistakably with us.1
In their paper titled “The Compulsion to Confess,” Zyl and Sey employ the scholarship of philosopher Michel Foucault in order to trace a genealogy of the confession into the twentieth century. They argue that confessional practices have expanded beyond their institutional forms and exist in many aspects of contemporary writing and culture in a “mutated but recognizable form.”2 In particular, they examine the ways in which contemporary social scientists and historians declare their subjective position while attempting to objectively capture history.
Many believe that confessing has therapeutic value. While this may be true, Foucault argues that the confession has became one of the primary techniques for producing truth in the West, and that through the act of confession, a form of self-surveillance is enacted, a recursive system of societal control which extends Jeremy Bentham’s conceptualization of the panopticon. The contemporary confession no longer needs external institutional support; it is a deeply ingrained way of self-monitoring our own behaviour, a way to acknowledge and recognize when one deviates from societal norms and values.
The desire to be honest with oneself means acknowledging and recognizing our faults. Becoming a better person means admitting to and overcoming our defects.
The Art of the Confession
In “Confessional Poetry,” a survey article written about one particular American school of poetry that emerged in the 1950s, literature scholar Deborah Nelson provides a brief, yet quite useful, history of confessional writing:
Confessional writing is part of a religious tradition that dates back to Augustine and became part of a therapeutic tradition even before the advent of psychotherapy, which certainly shaped and accelerated the out-pouring of personal self-revelation in the twentieth century. Moreover, in confessional poetry both religious belief and Freudian psychotherapy play very important roles. Confession, with or without the motivation of penance or psychic pain relief, also represents one of the most varied and intense forms of artistic experimentation of the twentieth century.3
Nelson also suggests one of the ways in which confessional poetry distinguishes itself from autobiography. She argues that “the nature and context of its revelations”4 distinguishes confessional poetry from personal or autobiographical work. Confessional works are extremely personal and often discuss subject matter that is considered taboo or shameful, or that deviates from societal norms and middle class values. Moreover, the relative self-awareness of the confessor is one of the factors that transforms the confession into a work of art, a condition which immediately calls into question the authenticity of the confession. In other words, one is prompted to ask, is this an actual confession or the performance of a confession? Not surprisingly, this was also a charge levelled against confessional poetry.5
If the confessor is performing, or not being totally sincere, they are often charged with being inauthentic since they are seen as not being true to themselves. This position reinforces the power dynamics implicit in the confessional itself, as one must submit to the person receiving the proclamation. However, as with the more traditional forms of confession, insincerity, straight-up lying, and performance are often strategies used by the confessor in order to obtain power over those receiving the confessional. The declaration of one’s sins offers potential salvation to those who perform the ritual, but at a price: the submission to a higher power, the person(s) receiving the annunciation. However, the power in this ritual always lies in the presumed assumption that the confessor is telling the truth. One of the ways in which artists have disrupted this power dynamic is through performativity and playing loose with truth.
As argued by film scholar Michael Renov in “The Confessional Video,” the confessional film/video can be seen as an extension of confessional writing. Renov traces the development of the confessional form through film and video within the framework developed by Foucault. He argues,
[…] a new and particular variant of ritualized self-examination has arisen over the past two decades in the form of the first-person video confession, with video understood as a format uniquely suited to that purpose owing to its potential for privatized production and consumption.6
In addition, Renov sees a utopian potential in the first-person confessional video in terms of “self-understanding, as well as for two-way communication, for the forging of human bonds, and for emotional recovery.”7 Granted, Renov saw artist-made independent video in opposition to broadcast television and his paper was written before the Internet and social media were ubiquitous.
Forgive Me Internet, For I Have Sinned
In recent years, the confessional has taken on a new shape and, at this point in time, our urge to showcase our lives has transformed into another instrument of social control. Social media now regulates our present, ensuring that we do not deviate too far from societal norms no matter how much we try to be different. Once an image is online, it seemingly lasts forever. As such, many people only present highlights of their lives on social media, leaving out moments that reveal their shortcomings or vulnerabilities. The social image is often a curated image.
Despite this, many contemporary YouTubers use the confessional in order to reveal secrets or to admit to a fault in order to receive some form of solace. In this kind of confession, the confessor will usually reveal something that they consider to be too personal to share with those close to them, often a secret which they consider to be humiliating, shameful or socially unacceptable.8 As cultural theorist Michael Strangelove suggests in Watching YouTube, “on YouTube we find all manner of personal confession.” He continues, “Western culture’s ancient history of confessional practices helps to explain why video diarists find it so easy to divulge detailed and intimate accounts of their lives to distant strangers.”9
Strangelove presents a more compelling explanation for our contemporary compulsion to confess. He argues, “perhaps the massive outpouring of self-reflection and video confessions on the Internet is an indication of a contemporary crisis of the real, the self, and the authentic.”10 That is, in contemporary consumer culture there is a desire to be authentic, especially in relation to the societal norm where people are constantly presenting fake versions of themselves through social media.
Although Strangelove may be correct, it is perhaps worth considering a much simpler explanation by examining more traditional forms of the confessional. In the religious context, the confessor fails to meet the Lord’s expectations; in the legal context, the confessor fails to meet the conditions of the law; in the psychological context, the confessor fails to meet societal norms. In all of these cases, some form of institutional confession is required in order to obtain redemption or leniency. Given that the contemporary confession is self-imposed, perhaps the confessor simply fails to meet their own self-imposed expectations or deviates in some way from their conception of social norms and is seeking redemption or validation from their peers.
In the past, the confession has been used as a means for the confessor to submit to the authority of a priest, a psychoanalyst or a judge. As succinctly synthesized by Renov, “western epistemology presumes a subject who must submit to the Truth, one whose substance and identity are constructed in relation to an authoritative Other.”11 In other words, there is more at stake than simply revisionist views of religion or psychoanalysis. While the institutions have changed, most people remain committed to some ideals regarding capital “T” Truth.
In the History of Sexuality, Foucault argues that the confession has become an intrinsic part of our nature, “Western man has become a confessing animal.”12 It is this transformation that is significant, that is, the confessor no longer requires an authority figure in order to confess. Even in many contemporary versions of Christianity, a priest is no longer required to deliver your sinful disclosures to God: you can confess from the comfort (and privacy) of your own bedroom. Moreover, as Renov suggests, it is often the therapeutic nature associated with the confession that drives our compulsion to confess. The contemporary confession isn’t necessarily about pleasing an authority figure, but an attempt to feel better about ourselves or to work through the ways in which our behaviour deviates from certain perceived societal norms. Nevertheless, the public confession is still ripe with power dynamics, with the audience becoming a combination of close friend, judge, psychoanalyst and God.
Spreading the Disease
Penny Lane’s The Pain of Others is a found footage documentary about Morgellons, a highly contentious disease which is characterized by the presence of fibres that emerge from underneath the skin and which many doctors believe is a form of delusional parasitosis. The documentary intercuts the YouTube confessionals of three women suffering from Morgellons with news stories about the disease. Essayist Leslie Jamison describes the origins of the disease:
The diagnosis originated with a woman named Mary Leitao. In 2001, she took her toddler son to the doctor because he had sores on his lip that wouldn’t go away. He was complaining of bugs under his skin. The first doctor didn’t know what to tell her, nor did the second, nor the third. Eventually, they started telling her something she didn’t want to hear: that she might be suffering from Münchausen syndrome by proxy, which causes a parent or caregiver to fabricate (and sometimes induce) illness in a dependent. Leitao came up with her own diagnosis, and Morgellons was born.13
The film begins with an epigraph, a slight misquoting of Canadian poet Anne Carson: “One of the principal qualities of pain is that it demands an explanation.”14 Through the film, we are asked to bear witness to the testimonial of women who are suffering and who are not taken seriously by the mainstream medical establishment. The act of listening to these women, and not immediately dismissing their illness as psychological, is a political act. The film is not attempting to determine if the illness is real or not, it is exhibiting the lived experiences of people who legitimately suffer from Morgellons. Regardless of whether or not the illness is real, the pain suffered is. Chloé Galibert-Laîné in her video-essay on the film, Watching the Pain of Others (2018), pushes this idea further, posing the question, “at what point does feeling empathy for other people’s pain become toxic for oneself?” Given that the disease spreads seemingly through social media and that many of the manifestations of this disease can be as mundane as itching sensations or unexplained rashes, is it possible for this empathy to manifest itself into Morgellons’ symptoms?
The illness narrative presented in The Pain of Others is firmly embedded in traditions of female hysteria, medical misogyny and the social pressures associated with feminine beauty. It is through editing that Lane constructs the narrative trajectory of the film, and ultimately inserts herself into the work. Galibert-Laîné breaks down Lane’s narrative arcs into two trajectories. She observes that as the film develops, the sufferers of Morgellons syndrome become more unbelievable due to their increasingly erratic behaviour (such as engaging in conspiracy theories and urophagia) and the news stories become more sympathetic to those claiming to suffer from the disease. Galibert-Laîné argues that this forces the spectator to form their own opinions about the disease and makes the viewer hyper-aware of their biases.
While discussing the narrative arcs created by Lane, Galibert-Laîné also reveals what is left out of Lane’s documentary. While looking through the YouTube channel of Carrie [@4eyes2sea], one of the Morgellons sufferers in Lane’s documentary, Galibert-Laîné states: “If I discovered Carrie’s videos directly, without Penny Lane as an intermediary, I could never have felt so close to her.” In addition to being a Morgellons sufferer, Carrie also subscribes to various conspiracy theories, including the flat earth theory. Galibert-Laîné further argues that the removal of the videos from their original context allows us to feel sympathy for the emotions of the Morgellons sufferer, as opposed to simply questioning their reliability as a narrator. Galibert-Laîné suggests:
By extracting the videos from their original context, Penny Lane allows her viewers to gain original, experiential knowledge about the affective workings of online virality. In ripping the videos from their metadata, she indeed enables those of us who would have been repelled by their pro-conspiracy wrapping to engage directly with their most human component. Encouraging us to dedicate more time and attention to these YouTubers than we spontaneously would have, and inviting us to temporarily inhabit the gaze of one of their subscribers, the film thus allows us to gain an intimate understanding of the wide range of emotional responses that their videos can trigger, and that may account for their popularity: empathy, disbelief, fascination, confusion, voyeurism, disgust, fear…15
In contrast, Lane has been criticized for transforming pain into spectacle. As Maria Hofmann argues,
Lane distances herself clearly from the depicted women with both the title (The Pain of Others) as well as the last intertitle (“If you or someone you love believes they might have Morgellons, please seek information from evidence-based sources such as The Mayo Clinic”) ultimately undermining their trustworthiness and exposing them as spectacle.16
While I think Hofmann is correct in her analysis, this isn’t necessarily problematic. From the construction of the film itself, it is clear that Lane is skeptical of Morgellons and that she doesn’t necessarily find the lines of reasoning used by the woman compelling. Moreover, where should one suffering from this affliction find help? Should they turn to non-evidence-based sources that may, for instance, suggest urophagia as a treatment?
To quote Socrates via Plato, “an unexamined life is not worth living.” While this quotation is often presented as an axiom, it has also been disputed given that some people who engage in self-examination may become entangled with it, as demonstrated in The Pain of Others. Moreover, while it is always open season on self-examination, critical self-examination requires a few additional skills, namely the ability to think critically and apply deductive reasoning. Without these skills, you might actually start to believe that your naturally occurring grey hairs, a sign of aging, are caused by a mysterious fibre that is forcing out your regular hair. With that, a larger systemic problem is at work, as Galibert-Laîné observes. She asks: “In what kind of society is it more enviable to identify as a diseased person rather than just being an aging woman?”
The rawness of the pain and struggle felt by the women in The Pain of Others is ultimately the power of Morgellons. The confession is real whether or not the disease itself is, and the confession is exchanged for subscribers and likes, creating a vicious cycle. It is the perfect viral illness. The vagueness of Morgellons’ symptoms guarantees its ability to manifest itself in nearly anyone who is willing to hyper-examine every pore and blemish, further validating the disease. Moreover, the search for answers, like the confessions themselves, is also sincere. It is those publicly searching who are also in control of the narrative of the illness, diminishing the power of traditional medical institutions. Medical advice is only accepted by those inflicted with Morgellons if it fits into the Morgellons narrative.
While Hofmann’s hypercritical eye and Galibert-Laîné’s self-reflective lens are appreciated, they both miss a particularly complicated aspect of Lane’s work: the film, like most of Lane’s work, is, dare I say, entertaining. In an offhand but telling comment, Lane states: “But now I’m afraid I’m making this [The Pain of Others] sound really not fun. I, of course, think it’s a very fun film!”17 This again may be seen as reinforcing Hofmann’s criticism. Nevertheless, I would argue that this does not undercut the suffering of the women in the film, nor the fact that these women are sincerely seeking answers, nor our empathy for them. In other words, Lane’s work demonstrates that it is possible to have empathy for others even when you don’t necessarily agree with or understand their particular line of reasoning. The confessions in The Pain of Others are not only raw, sincere, and frank, they are also often incredibly bizarre. This is, perhaps, the most contagious element of the film.
Love, Medicine and Miracles
Aaron Zeghers and Lewis Bennett’s Danny is constructed from a found confessional video and is an exercise in empathy. Danny presents a portrait of its protagonist, Danny Ryder, a man who starts to record his life after being diagnosed with leukemia in 1993, an illness that would ultimately take his life in 1994.18 As such, the film provides a brief glimpse into the life of a man reflecting on his own mortality and personal accomplishments/failures. Like The Pain of Others, the film does not attempt to provide easy answers.
Danny begins with a series of false starts and a man, Danny, running off-screen up a path, only to reappear slowly walking down the path towards the camera. Beginning with this scene reinforces the raw nature of the footage, but it is also unlikely that this is the way in which Danny intended the footage to be seen—that is, if he intended it to be seen at all. Zeghers has struggled with this dilemma. In an interview Zeghers explains:
First of all, “Can I use this footage?” was the first question. Even though it’s of my relative and I can get permission from my family to use this footage, ethically can I use this footage? It was an ethical dilemma and maybe still is in a way. You can’t ask a dead man for permission. I don’t know for certain that Danny would be alright with me using this footage.19
Beyond this, there is also a question of representation. Zeghers states, “I just wanted to create something that was true to the original creator which was my Uncle [Danny].”19 Through the inclusion of these false starts, that is, by not editing them out, Zeghers and Bennett demonstrate the difficulty of this task. Danny further complicates this, explaining, “I don’t know how this will be edited together later, a lot of it will be chucked out, obviously.”
After the series of false starts, Danny reads a profile from Bernie S. Siegel’s Love, Medicine and Miracles that fits him exactly:
It’s hard to accept this but I have no doubt that it’s true. The typical cancer patient, let’s say a man, experienced a lack of closeness to his parents during childhood, a lack of the kind of unconditional love that could have assured him of his intrinsic value and the ability to overcome challenges. As he grew up, he became strongly extroverted, but not so much from an innate attraction to others as from a dependency on them for validation of his own worth. […] He thinks, ‘If I act the way I really feel—childlike, brilliant, loving and ‘crazy’ —I’ll be rejected.’ This is so true.
In an attempt to better understand himself, Danny resorts to an expert opinion, that of a surgeon. Through this quote, cancer is linked to vague personality traits, and thus begins Danny’s odyssey of self-analysis.
In true confessional form, Danny uses the camcorder in an attempt to better understand himself, his failures, and his legacy. By digging through the emotional baggage of his formative years, Danny wants to get to better understand himself, and potentially the cause of his cancer. As Danny explains, “this seems like an incredibly bizarre set of circumstances, but there are all kinds of things coming up now. The more I delve into this, the more I realize it is not as simple as something goes wrong with your body and you get cancer. That’s not the way it is, not the way at all.” The camera is an unbiased spectator. It listens to him without judgment. When Danny reveals that he showed one of his tapes to a friend, he adds “I think he [his friend] was kinda shaken.” The camera is never shaken; no matter what Danny reveals, it simply listens.
Filled with lament, Danny even questions his accomplishments. Sitting inside LIGHTYEARS, his hand-built boat, hecontemplates, “If I hadn’t built this boat, I could have done this, that, or the other thing.” He continues, “But you see, would you’ve? No one knows.” Ultimately, Danny is questioning his legacy and his lost opportunities. Danny further recounts a story in which he asks a psychiatrist who also built their own boat “about the nature of building boats and about what is needed to build a boat (aside from money).” The psychiatrist responds, “you have to have a firm idea about the nature of neurosis.” The obvious interpretation of this statement is that one building a boat becomes obsessed with all of the minute details to the point of driving oneself mad. Danny suggests an alternative interpretation: “Building a boat is a process of discovery and what you may discover, you may not like.”
Without seeming hyper-reductive, it appears Danny ultimately regrets not having children, and that these regrets manifest themselves in various ways. For example, in a dream about an aborted female child Danny speculates that if he had known the baby was going to be female, he probably wouldn’t have “encouraged” his partner to have an abortion. It is possible to further speculate that the this, that, or the other thing that Danny refers to may have been children, and that he is now regretting having siphoned his energy into building a boat (although, of course, it would be possible to do both). Carrying this idea further, the video diaries themselves can be seen as another legacy project that attempts to disavow his regrets about not having children.
Danny’s video diaries can be seen as a form of outsider art. As Zeghers articulates, Danny’s not some “famous asshole…he’s just a regular asshole.”19 Given that Danny’s videos were made prior to contemporary Internet social practices, film critic Kevin Rakestraw speculates what they might have been if they were made today:
While oversharing and documenting one’s nearly every waking moment seems to be a current fascination, Danny shows that the impulse has always existed. Maybe not as prevalent as today but it has existed before, and now technology easily allows us to itch that urge at any moment. How would Danny’s response to a life-threatening diagnosis play out in today’s technological environment? With updated, threaded tweetstorms? Or, perhaps, a YouTube channel that finds him bouncing on his exercise trampoline, urging everyone out there to smash that ‘like’ button before he ruminates on what could have been if he were homosexual?20
While re-articulating that the urge to confess is not a new phenomenon, Rakestraw also suggests that these types of confessions are now commonplace and perhaps easier to overlook.
Portraits of Alienation
In 2019, YouTube revealed that approximately 500 hours of video were being uploaded to the site every minute21 This means approximately 82 years of video were being uploaded to YouTube everyday. As such, it is easy to imagine many YouTube confessionals being lost to the algorithms of time. Tonje Alice Madsen’s video INSIDEOUT is constructed from just that: confessions that would have been lost in a sea of YouTube videos. In contrast to The Pain of Others where the three main characters are part of an online community,22 the characters in Madsen’s video are facing the world alone, united in their loneliness and desire for solace.
INSIDEOUT is structured around a 24-hour cycle, from dawn until dusk and back again. In the prologue, the narrator reveals that she wants to tell the stories that are yet untold in order to free herself. True to the confessional mode, it is the truth which sets one free. What follows are faceless confessions of people at their darkest and loneliest moments. The confessions are contrasted by lo-fi images which are often quite beautiful in their simplicity and mundaneness. The quiet, beautiful moments that make life worth living.
In an artist statement for the video, Madsen writes, “the characters of INSIDEOUT reveal their thoughts, dilemmas and crises in this open forum as if they were in a confession box.” She continues, “we are led to wonder about what makes them open up so intimately and who they are really addressing.”23 The characters seem to be reaching out in an attempt to share the burden of their deepest secrets with a stranger who may be able to relate. The individual confessions are collected by Madsen into a unified story, a shared vision. The audience bears witness, ensuring that these testaments do not go unnoticed, while perhaps acting as a reminder of the countless number of anonymous stories which will not go untold, but may remain un-viewed and hence unheard.
The confessions in Danny are reminiscent of those in INSIDEOUT. Returning to Rakestraw’s speculation about Danny asking viewers to “smash that ‘like’ button,” it is perhaps more likely that Danny’s YouTube confessionals would simply go unnoticed, lost in YouTube’s beyond vast collection. It is equally likely that these videos would have been released online without his family’s knowledge, prompting the question: would anyone have used, or even seen, Danny’s footage?
Madsen’s video ends with an epilogue, a person confesses that this may be their last chance to leave something behind. Again, the video functions as a form of legacy. Moreover, like all good confessionals, this one ends with the confessor asking for forgiveness; however, they perform a confessional sleight-of-hand. They state: “Forgive me, if I am not enough; if I am not as much you expect, as you want, as you wish.” The confessor inverts the traditional power dynamic found within the confessional framework. If the viewer is not satisfied, it is not due to the confessor’s shortcomings but a failure of the audience’s expectations. Moreover, the confessor states that he cares about the audience, every single one of them. Again, this inverts the dynamics of the confessional, as it is normally the confessor who is seeking sympathy or commiseration, but in this case they offer it. In other words, the video confessional is both a testament and an offer of reassurance to the viewer that they are not alone in their struggles.
Moreover, Madsen is performing a different type of double-dealing. Like the women in Lane’s video, Madsen uses the rawness and candidness of the confessional form in order to undercut the power of the confessional framework by constructing a narrative over which she controls. Fact is transformed into fiction. Again, the power of the confessional lies within the assumption that one remains true to the truth. Through this form of artistic appropriation, the truth of the individual confessional remains, while the work becomes a form of performativity—literally, a way of playing loose with the truth.
- Susan van Zyl and James Sey, ‘The Compulsion to Confess,’ Literator 17, no. 3 (May 1996): 77.
- Ibid., 78.
- Deborah Nelson, “Confessional Poetry,” in The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry since 1945, ed. Jennifer Ashton, 31-46 (Chicago: University of Illinois, 2013), 33.
- Ibid., 34
- Ibid., 35.
- Michael Renov, “Video Confession,” in Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, eds. Michael Renov and Erika Suderburg, 78-101 (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 97.
- Michael Renov, “Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices,” in Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, eds. Michael Renov and Erika Suderburg, 78-101 (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 97.
- “The Compulsion to Confess,” written in 1996, predates YouTube; however, as argued, the video confessional is an art form that has existed since the advent of video and its history extends beyond the medium.
- Michael Strangelove, Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010), 71.
- Ibid., 68.
- Renov, “Resolutions,” 79-80.
- Michel Foucault,The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978), 59.
- Leslie Jamison, “The Devil’s Bait: Symptoms, Signs, and the Riddle of Morgellons,” Harper’s Magazine (September 2013).
- Lane explains the origins of this potential misquotation in her essay “Notes on Quotes (Or, The Problem of Quotation, Authorship and Authority),” Filmmaker Magazine (January 30, 2018). In the article Lane concludes the “correct” quote is: “A primary characteristic of pain is its demand for an explanation.” However, Lane’s journey is far more interesting than the destination.
- Chloé Galibert-Laîné “Watching The Pain of Others,” Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies 6, no. 3 (2019).
- Maria Hofmann, “Watching the Pain of Others,” Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies 6.3 (2019); Emphasis added by Hofmann.
- Lauren Wissot, “YouTube Body Horror: Penny Lane on Her Morgellons Disease Doc, The Pain of Others,” Filmmaker Magazine (June 25, 2018).
- The film is built from 14 hours of footage recorded by Danny on C-VHS, given to Zeghers by his grandfather. “Three years ago, my grandfather who passed away earlier this year, handed me a plastic shopping bag with 14 VHS-C tapes and said ‘Danny was making a film when he died and I want you to have these’.” See: Shaun Lang, “Aaron Zeghers Introduces Us to His Late Uncle in Danny,” Hollywood North Magazine (September 19, 2019).
- Lang, “Aaron Zeghers Introduces Us to His Late Uncle in Danny.”
- Kevin Rakestraw, “VIFF 2019: Danny Review,” Film Pulse, (October 2, 2019).
- James Hale, “More Than 500 Hours Of Content Are Now Being Uploaded To YouTube Every Minute,” Tubefilter (May 7, 2019).
- The three women in Lane’s video had many subscribers and viewers. Lane explains, “the three women in my film were the most famous people, at the time, which was two-plus years ago. They had, by far, the most videos, the most views, and the most subscribers of anyone that was posting Morgellons logs.” See Stephen Saito, “Interview: Penny Lane on Keeping Up Appearances with The Pain of Others,” The Moveable Fest (June 1, 2018).
- Tonje Alice Madsen, “Artist Statement for INSIDEOUT.”