Get Off the Computer with Poorgrrrl

Monica Uszerowicz

Submerged | Poorgrrrl presents: GHOST Directed by: FXRBES DP: Alex Markow Produced by: R17 HUB & Tara Long


A lit cigarette, a brazen gun, a kiss, a stranglehold, a scream—the slippery tension in Poorgrrrl’s video for “Ghost” always stays on the verge of some unseen boundary, never resolving, never quite needing to. Directed by FXRBES, “Ghost,” premiering at Cultured, is partly a preview for Submerged | Episode 1: Poorgrrrl, the first in a series of documentary/music video hybrids by artist collective R17 HUB showcasing Miami’s experimental music scene. But “Ghost” stands, trembling, on its own.

Comprised of the Miami artist and musician duo Tara Long and Andrew Byrd, Poorgrrrl’s name comes from, Long has said, the faux-sympathy of others; here, she claims and reclaims herself, then lets go. Presented as a series of vignettes of beautiful, uncanny figures—wielding knives, removing a soft fur coat, holding hands, posing alongside a phallic cactus—the story, says FXRBES, refers to how “we are all fighting to be ourselves, to be free of the boundaries we are born into and the boundaries we’ve placed ourselves in. Humans are far more intricate than the boundaries and the vision Western culture likes to propagate.”

Long, our protagonist, deconstructs and embodies the various selves we all encompass, and the way they become visual avatars on a screen; she is frustrated and defiant. “Get off the computer,” she demands, repeatedly. “Ghost” asks, explains Long over email, “What person are you making the computer make you? Who is your algorithm? How much of what you see is you, and how much of what you see is me? Is there any way out?” Maybe: “Be friends with your ghost, and you won’t ever die,” she advises, elsewhere in the song.

Poorgrrrl’s forthcoming album will be released on Life and Death.