Uncertain Futures (2022)

Isabella Richardson

Opto File 2 by Alva Noto & Opto


"Uncertain Futures" is a portrayal of a young ballet dancer aspiring to enter the professional performing arts world. The film responds to the government-backed 'Fatima' dancer advert published in late 2020 by CyberFirst - a government programme helping young people explore tech and cybersecurity careers. The campaign depicted a ballet dancer alongside a text reading "Fatima could be in cyber. (She just doesn't know it yet)” which resulted in severe public criticism. The creative industry felt misrepresented and disrespected. The slanted message conveyed by the ad appeared to suggest that people struggling in the creative arts industries affected by coronavirus should turn to work in the cyber sector. The film forms a counter-response to the advert by illustrating the more intimate side of a dancer's solitude and explore ballet beyond its aesthetic value. The dialogue formed between the camera and the subject highlights the dancer's personal view of her struggles striving toward professional success amidst the reality of the socially biased stereotypical portrayal of the ballet industry.