Made Over in America is a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University researcher and MIT Press author Bernadette Wegenstein, and experimental filmmaker Geoffrey Alan Rhodes.
Bernadette Wegenstein was born in Vienna, Austria, of Swiss parents. She studied semiotics at the UniversitÓ degli Studi di Bologna (with Umberto Eco), medical anthropology at the ╔cole des Hautes ╔tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and received her PhD in Linguistics and Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Vienna. She is the author of Die Darstellung von AIDS in den Medien: eine semio-linguistische Analyse und Interpretation (Vienna University Press, 1998), and Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory (MIT Press, 2006), among many other academic publications on cultural and media theory. She has been a professor of media studies at the University at Buffalo (State University of New York) since 2002, and is currently a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University, where she researches and is writing her latest book, forthcoming with MIT Press, The Cosmetic Gaze: Body Modification and the
Construction of Beauty.
Wegenstein has worked for the Austrian television and radio network ORF, the French TF1, and has written columns on popular culture for the German print market; she also served as curator for independent film festivals in the USA and Europe; in 2006 she developed the mixed media program "Future Cinema" at the Vienna Schikaneder Cinema. She has been working on her first independent documentary Made Over in America since 2005 in collaboration with experimental filmmaker Geoffrey Alan Rhodes. She raised the financing for the film through research grants as well as private investors.
Geoffrey Alan Rhodes is a researcher and experimental filmmaker based in Toronto, Ontario. He creates both films and installation video art for the gallery, and is a member of the London video art collective Octopus, whose goal is to challenge the boundaries between gallery art and cinema. Rhodes draws on his background as a composer and musician in the Seattle Arts scene to approach visual art with that mediums love for the confluence of the profound and the popular. His past film and installation works have focused on two areas: our changing relationship to time in the digital age, and sexual identity in media-saturated worlds, concentrating especially on the digital fantastic of new media by combining diverse media, layers, and channels into juxtapositions beyond film montage. His current installation work, inspired by the production of Made Over In America, explores the individual's confrontation with his own reflection ina mediated world.
Rhodes received his Master of Fine Arts from the University at Buffalo, where he met Bernadette Wegenstein. Their collaboration continued through their changing careers, as she moved to the Johns Hopkins University and he accepted a Fulbright Award to continue his research at York University in Toronto. He has received ongoing support from the international Princess Grace Foundation, which awarded him their Graduate Film Award in 2004, and continues to combine gallery exhibition with international cinema screenings of new works.