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PMS: Pepper Menstrual Syndrome is a poignant and experimental film that explores the challenges women face during their monthly menstrual cycles. Through the use of the pepper as a powerful visual motif, the film captures the range of emotions and physical discomfort experienced by women during this time, including pain, frustration, and exhaustion, all of which are caused by hormonal changes.

The film seeks to shine a light on the often-ignored struggle that women endure, a hardship that is normalized and expected in our society. By raising awareness of this important issue, PMS: Pepper Menstrual Syndrome aims to foster greater understanding and empathy for women who experience these challenges each month.

Through its innovative approach, the film invites viewers to reflect on their own attitudes toward menstruation and consider the impact that this natural process has on the lives of millions of women around the world. By giving voice to these experiences, PMS: Pepper Menstrual Syndrome offers a powerful and necessary contribution to the ongoing dialogue around gender, health, and social justice.

PMS: Pepper Menstrual Syndrome (March 2023) 

Directed and edited by: Jasmine Mohan Zhu 

Performer: Katharine Jinyan Zhao

This installation is a continuous work from my previous video work PMS: Pepper Menstrual Syndrome. I aim to continue exploring women’s struggles during the menstrual cycle and PMS in a physical form. This set of installations composites of two parts, image collages taken from previous footage and a projection of the script in Nushu. The installation will be read from left to right and then onto the audience themselves. The images are some key moments and unused shots from my previous project. I collated them together so they could form a relationship with each other and channel the emotional ups and downs through juxtaposed images. The projection of Nushu as the new element in this variation of the work serves as “the voice” that women have but has been historically suppressed or ignored. Nushu, as the only language used strictly by women in a region of China speaks about the struggle yet gives women strength to speak up and to be heard and acknowledged. The red years as a powerful motif of blood and vessels that connect these images and the projection together serve as a bond between women. It also represents the mess and struggles during menstrual cycles as well as the literal clusters of blood that flow out of us. This project is a conversation to every audience addressing the hardship of being a woman and pushing for acknowledgment of such struggle.

Supplementary Image Collages 

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