For her Advancement to Candidacy, San Jose State University MFA candidate Heather Brown (@hb_bwfilm) created Bind, a surreal short film featuring a strange custom designed wearable metal piece. Brown intentionally constructed this wearable prop to restrict the actor's face, hands, and body movement. Likewise, the protagonist of the film, acted by Brown, willingly adorns the restrictive piece despite its inherent discomfort. She continues to decorate herself with lipstick while wearing the piece as if nothing were unusual. Immediately afterward, the protagonist begins to struggle to breathe, eventually collapsing from lack of oxygen. She then enters a hellish blood-orange tinged landscape, walking in slow-motion down an empty road before again collapsing to her knees.
Rather than being literal, this film is symbolic in several significant ways. Firstly, it symbolizes the restrictions stemming from societal standards of beauty, especially for those who identify as female. Because the actor willingly adorns herself with not only the metal piece but also lipstick, she is conforming to female beauty norms which are psychologically and physically uncomfortable. Secondly, this film represents the restrictions caused by human-induced global climate change. Due to the fact that climate change is increasing the rate of natural disasters, including wildfires, our physical environment is literally becoming unlivable. As California has and continues to experience record-breaking wildfires, our air is being inundated with extremely toxic smoke. Residents, like the protagonist of the film, struggle to find clean air to breathe. Likewise, the ending sequence was intentionally filmed on September 9, 2020. On this day, activity from raging wildfires turned the skies of the bay area a sinister shade of blood-orange. Thirdly, and most importantly, this film conveys the painful restrictions created by Western capitalist society. In accordance with Karl Marx's theory of alienation, capitalism essentially disconnects us from our environment, each other, and our innate selves. Even though it causes us extreme discomfort and alienation, we as a society willingly conform to capitalism. Just as the protagonist's choice to adorn the restrictive piece leads to her downfall, our choice to participate in capitalism leads to our collective alienation and consequential suffocation.