HANNAH LOUiSY, BRO COLLAGE (2019)
~~ A note from the Insomniac Team:
Adam accidentally didn’t record the first 10 minutes of this interview and only realized after the interview had ended! We can assure you that Hannah said many smart things about and related to Bro Collage and we are deeply sad that they are lost to time and space. Fortunately, Hannah went on to say many more smart things about and related to Bro Collage, so let’s pick the conversation up after Seb asked how to navigate bros… ~~
Hannah: As for navigating bros, just assert yourself. Which is something I forget to do a lot of the time when encountering bros. But the worst thing to do is to just humour them. Because that’s gonna feed back into their idea of themselves as like, all knowing, all powerful.
For not becoming a bro, I guess just catch yourself if you’re mansplaining. If you’re a man, catch yourself before you go off the deep end. Also, include non cisgender men into your social outings. [Laughs]
Seb: And avoid Fight Club.
Hannah: Yeah. Don’t join a fight club. Or allow non cis men to join your fight club.
Adam: If you’re gonna have a fight club, make it an inclusive fight club.
Hannah: Everyone can join your fight club!
Seb: What defines an art bro?
Hannah: Someone who’s going to explain to you how different pigments should be mixed. They’re like, constantly name dropping vague artists that you don’t know the names of.
Seb: To test you?
Hannah: Yeah. And then they act like you’re under a rock just because you’re not up to speed on Canadian Contemporary Art. Like, to the same extent that he is. [Laughs]. I feel like there’s kind of a spectrum of art bros. It depends on the medium honestly. Other art bros will show you how to hold a camera even though you already know how to.
People who also gate keep opportunities as well. Like not allowing femme people into the same opportunities. Or when they are allowed into those opportunities, talking down to them. Kind of like… the only word that’s coming to me is roasting. Like roasting them for not knowing immediately how to perform in the opportunities that they’ve been given. I find like… a lot of the time… I don’t know. I’m rambling, but that’s my answer.
Adam: No, please! We love rambling.
Seb: Please continue to ramble.
Hannah: Nah. No. No. Eventually we’ll need a dead end and that’s not gonna be pretty.
Adam: I’ve definitely encountered those bros that jump on you right away. Even if they think it’s in this fun way, it’s clearly to gate keep.
Hannah: And they take up all the space in conversations too. And then they’ll find people like them and they’ll just band together.
Adam: And then it’s a competition for who can take up the most space in this conversation and prove their knowledge.
Hannah: [Laughs] Yeah…
Adam: That’s what I’ve encountered with film bros, where it becomes this race to prove like…
Seb: How much you know. Every conversation is a competition.
Hannah: Exactly! But no one’s asking you! Maybe listen before you start talking!
Seb: I feel like there’s always a couple of those guys, and then there’s a couple of guys who are kind of like, lost, and don’t know where they fit in. So they’re like “oh, this is how men are” and then there’s all these imitators. But who was the original?
Hannah: Well that’s just like, how society works, you know? Like, people are always acting how they think they should act. And unfortunately, we tell men to act like this. Or they tell each other. So, this is just the after math. The byproduct.
Adam: That’s one of the interesting threads in your film. We see all this imagery of men doing the same repeated actions. These very specific “bro” actions that you bring out in this really funny way.
Hannah: It’s kind of bizarre too, because these people are coming from all over the world! And it’s just funny that this architect of person right now in pop culture exists everywhere. They’re also seeing how they should act online and it’s like this secret language. Secret body language. Also the way they speak, especially with rap. Rap is a big instigator in this whole like… taking up space, but also asserting dominance with body language. I guess people want to be powerful and cool and all that, so if it’s as simple as recreating a recipe, then why not just jump on it?
It just kind of sucks because on the other side of it, like what’s going on in pop culture for women… it’s not powerful at all. It’s a little self deprecating in some ways. So I wanted to turn it on it’s head. But yeah, it is very… mythological… uh, let’s pretend I didn’t use that word. [Laughs].
Adam: It’s a great word.
Hannah: I’m not really sure what it means… actually, I do... I do know what it means. But yeah, it’s just so universal… what was your question again?
Adam: This film obviously concerns bro culture in the media, but just now you’re also describing depictions of femme people in the media and the degrading image that you feel has been perpetuated.
Hannah: It’s super objectifying, and they’re asking girls to internalize it. Or like “own the objectification”, you know? Like, “make it work”. And it’s so weird because feminism isn’t in pop culture somehow. There’s still women out there telling people they’re not feminists. I just wish that the school systems would teach people about feminism so that young girls wouldn’t have all these weird ideas. There’s just a lot to tackle for women and the school systems aren’t helping, pop culture isn’t helping. It’s just messy.
Adam: You don’t think that going back to the 1990s curriculum will help?
Hannah: No! No! [Laughing] Move forwards, not backwards!
Adam: Nah, let’s move 30 years backwards…
Hannah: It’s fucked up.
Seb: I’m gonna go on a tangent, and maybe it’ll lead somewhere.
Hannah: Okay, let’s do it.
Seb: Maybe every bro person thinks this, but I think that I’m not a bro. But I still find myself drawn to a lot of “bro” media, especially ones that seem more modern and trying to make it less toxic. I feel like it’s a thing where I’m like, “these are the people I’m afraid of.” So I want to buy into this fantasy that they’re harmless. Do you feel any of that? Are you drawn to any sort of bro media?
Hannah: Am I drawn to any sort of bro media? If I do consume bro media I try to be aware of what’s going on in these people’s heads. And it’s also a matter of privilege as well. To make bro media, you’re making it for a group of people who… I’m telling you, probably random percentage… 80% of media is made for them anyways.
When I do consume bro media, I know it’s not made for me. I know I’m not supposed to identify with it. And it’s blatantly obvious in a lot of ways. I’m already being othered. And so I consume bro media with a sense of irony. [Laughter]
Adam: The most bro-y thing I’m into is sports. I love basketball so much and I feel so insecure about it. Although this year with the Raptors being good and everyone liking basketball, it’s made it easier.
Hannah: Now that everyone’s jumped on the bandwagon. At least sports is a non-violent outlet for testosterone.
Adam: Well, some sports. Basketball for sure.
Hannah: True. It depends on the sport. Hockey…
Adam: Yeah. Hockey, football, those are very aggressive.
Hannah: I feel like there does need to be some outlet though. Some non-toxic testosterone-driven outlet. Otherwise we’re gonna have a lot more wars.
Seb: There was a sports shortage in the Great Depression… no one was playing sports…
Adam: You joke, but I think most of the sports leagues actually did stop during the World Wars.
Seb: But not before the World Wars.
Adam: No, you’re right. The World Wars didn’t start because of no sports leagues.
Hannah: Might as well just draft sports stars, you know? [Laughs] But to deliberately not draft sports stars at that point would just be to like, let the rich go...
Seb: Yeah, it’s a complicated thing… I say draft ‘em!!!
[Everyone laughs yet again]
Hannah: They can handle it. Better than like, 17 year old Benny over here…
Adam: Yeah, you’re right. The Toronto Maple Leafs should be in the army!
Hannah: That’s not what I’m saying!!
Adam: That’s the pull quote. That’s gonna be at the top of the interview.
Hannah: Hopefully no one reads that and goes for my neck.
Adam: I think I saw you at Nara’s show, but I was too nervous to say hi cause I wasn’t sure if it was you.
Hannah: Oh my god, you were at Nara’s show?? I was there too!
Adam: I should’ve said hi! I feel bad now.
Hannah: I came in my sick clothes.
Seb: Adam was too nervous to come up to you because he was working on his handshake. He couldn’t figure it out.
Hannah: I’m telling you, we practiced [handshakes for the film] for hours! We booked a studio at 7 o clock and we were at it for four hours. At some point, Alex’s little brother Skype called us. He’s an 8 year old and he was teaching us all these like, what’s it called? It’s not Minecraft… why am I blanking on this…
Hannah: Yes, Fortnite! He was teaching us all these Fortnite dances. And like, I feel like that was perfect because a lot of bros play Fortnite.
Adam: I’m glad that kids are into dancing now. I feel like when we were kids we didn’t have that. Well… I guess there was the Soulja Boy.
Hannah: There were a couple ones. There was the slide. You know the Michael Jackson slide?
Adam: That’s true. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there was always dancing in our lives.
Hannah: They were too hard though, like I couldn’t do them. So I just felt left out. But like, the floss is so easy. I had a group of 7 years olds teaching me last year and now I’m basically a pro.
Adam: Yeah, the Soulja Boy had too many steps.
Adam: It was like ten steps!
Hannah: Yeah, I’m not a dancer. I need something that’s accessible. Also it’s hard for kids too, because I feel like they’re always afraid to dance. I was afraid to dance until I was 14. No, definitely older than 14. That’s like the peak of being afraid to dance.
Adam: If you had not been afraid to dance at 14 then wow!
Hannah: Yeah, no... I wasn’t even dancing at 14. I stopped going to the school dances at 14. I was like, these aren’t fun. Why am I going to spend money on a dress so I can just stand around?
Seb: I can stand around at home!
Hannah: Exactly, and watch Netflix. Or play video games. Like come on!
Adam: Do you have any final words? Anyone you wanna shout out? Anything you wanna plug?
Hannah: I want to thank Alex for letting me feed off their bro energy and helping us reach our full bro potential. Everyone else can suck it. It’s hard when you’ve been taught to be so timid your whole life to now get all up in people’s space. It’s a lot of fun though.
Adam: Next time I see you at a concert I will say hi.
Hannah: Yeah, say hi, what the heck!
Born and raised in southern Ontario, Hannah has been exposed to mans from an early age.
They began their art making journey when they were a baby and have been going at it ever since.