The challenges of such ad hoc methods are apparent in the film’s ever-evolving visuals. Set pieces like an Olympic-sized pool—furnished by the University of Michigan, where Bitran was a visiting artist for a time—are juxtaposed by claymation or sound-only sequences. Most characters are gender- and age-fluid: 35 people have played Jack, while the titular ship has been represented 15 different ways, from drawing to sculpture to public installation. Rose, on the other hand, is always portrayed by Bitran, while first-class passengers (e.g., the grandiloquent Molly Brown, originally played by Kathy Bates) are a semi-constant, usually appearing in 2D. Despite their provisional nature, the materials used in each scene are still wholly intentional and in correspondence with what Bitran wants to say about each shot. “These are material decisions that fuel the message, even subliminally,” she said.
Bitran’s pop-cultural obsessions are not limited to Titanic. Having relocated to Santiago, Chile, from Boston at the age of eight, she possesses a kind of lurid, innate fascination with all aspects of American pop culture. By the time Titanic was released in Chile in 1998, American pop was at its shiniest and in full force. Along with Jack and Rose’s tragic saga, Bitran was also deeply entranced by the bubblegum pop of Britney Spears. “I was starting puberty and was bursting with hormones when these two things came,” she said. “They kind of traumatized me…not in a bad way, but they struck me so much, because I was so open [to them]. I was a Britney fan from day one, but there was a strange, fucked-up security [in that feeling of] growing up with her.”