Upsidedown and Backwards

1980, 29:03 min, color, sound

In Upsidedown and Backwards, two fairy tales — The Frog Prince and The Boy Who Went Out to Learn Fear — are told simultaneously, one backwards and one forwards, each interrupting the other. Jonas' ironic use of visual symbolism further inverts the structure and content of the fragmented fairy tale narratives, creating multiple, mirror-image reversals of the texts and their meaning. The inverted and mixed-up tales, which are intercut with Jonas' ritualistic performances, merge into a composition of transformation and sexuality that evokes the tangled subconscious of male and female desire. Jonas performs wearing a veiled doll face as she manipulates childlike objects or partners a skeleton in a danse macabre. Charged with the sublimated fears and fantasies of childhood, the tape's imagery mirrors the fairy tales in its fusion of innocence and horror, dream and nightmare.

Camera: Skip Sweeney, William Farley. Music: The Residents, Pere Ubu, The Sensations. Executive Producers: Barbara Mayfield, David Ross. Audio: Nick Burton. Lighting: Adrienne Wong. Set Installation: Daniel Kelly. Editing Engineers: Willard Shears, Bill Lord. Produced in association with the Television Workshop at WXXI TV, Rochester.