Sunday, December 10, 2006

More about alter-ego images in the media ...

I read the blog of Jeff Lieberman and found this campaign for real beauty by Dove and through the comments I also discovered this swedish campain.

The idea behind the campaign is to make women aware of how altered these images can be and how our vision of beauty can be distorted. The campaign of Dove is pretty clever in bringing us through all the steps of the woman metamorphosis. From makeup & light to digital edition. You can watch the movie here. Photoshop, le meilleur ami de la femme!

It seems to me that this ad tells us more than just the woman metamorphosis through editing. It also talks about the authority of the consumer. It of course plays an important role on accusing the fetishized repetition of Alter-Ego images in the media.

For the discussion, I readapted the semiotic identity square from Metz, Christian; “The Imaginary Signifier”, from Apparatus Theory., pp408-439.

Considering identity made of the self and the others (the mirror), the ego (our internal definition of identity) made of the self and the no-other, the alter ego (fantasy identity) that does not include the self neither the other, and the object (no self, other). The characters presented on these ads are unreal, fictional and the emotional resonance with the viewer cannot be of an identification, because the identities are impossible. However these images represent an alter ego, an alter-identification. An attachment to the image as an Alter Ego. Through these images, individuals try to reconcile the alter ego and identity such as they correspond to the ego. They end up forcing the alter ego image into the mirror, and end up into phenomena such as anorexia, aesthetic surgery and so on.

Gucci ad used as reference point
An interesting reference on the subject is the semiotic analysis of high fashion advertising by Alan Rhodes and Rodrigo Zuloago (2003). Here is the .pdf of the paper.

However, the Dove campaign tells us more. By giving authority to the viewer, it mentions a new area for advertisement . It talks to this naive consumer that has not overcome the manipulation of the media. However is also implies that there is another consumer that has already overcome this manipulation. This campaign tries to satisfy both consumers.
Hugo Liu has analyzed the passage from being a naive consumer to being the superconsumer, the one that is self-constructed culturally and can freely choose the culture that will fulfill him/her. An idealistic view of the after post-modern area and another paper that makes you feel good of being multicultural... .pdf of the paper.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Peter Welz

For the context of the class, Helen Mirra invited the sculptor Peter Welz. He also reviewed my work on inside/outside and shared with me his approach from studying the figure to lastly using the figure as a tool. I am fascinated by his process. During his trajectory, he sculpted and casted the figure to later get rid of its cast to only project the figures onto structural spaces.

Today, Peter Welz gave a talk at the Harvard Film Archive, Carpenter Center. He presented a selection of work expressing the relationship between the space and being.
In the following work, a line is projected on a concrete wall. By blowing onto the camera, the line vanishes and disappear to present a plain concrete wall; as the artist stops blowing, the line reappears.

line | vanishing | disappearing | breath | aspirate |
onto fake concrete wall | concave, Berlin 2004
video projection onto a fake concrete wall, 550 x 280 cm, 30 min Loop on DVD

In this work, Peter Weltz translates a unfinished portrait from Francis Bacon into figure movements.

retranslation | final unfinished portrait (francis bacon) | figure inscribing figure | [take 02] Installation view Musée du Louvre
Photo: © Musée du Louvre / Angèle Dequier © Peter Welz / DACS & the Estate of Francis Bacon

study | w.forsythe re-translating the unfinished portrait by francis bacon
colour print on acitate/paper, permanent marker, gaffa tape 61cm x 86 cm, 2005 (© Estate of Francis Bacon | Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Prediction market for corruption

For our pro-seminar class, a PhD requirement, Stefanie Tellex, Noah Vawter and Aaron Zinman and I am designing a prediction market for corruption. Our idea is that citizen can bet on the next congress that will be indicted.

Looking for visual tools and data analysis, I have found on Jaiunblog, the observatoire presidentiel web site.

It is an interactive presidential observatory. It allows individuals to visualize a tendançologue to follow the media popularity of main political French figures estimated for this election and this until the presidential elections of 2007.
The interactive µtendançologue considers also news from blogs, newsgroup, online press. It allows the user to compare between presidential online press.
This online observatory also proposes an interactive political blogopole map. The map represents the total of citizen's blogs that bring up political debates in France.

The Blogopole and a close-up on the French Green party

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Revigators

Adam showed me an amazing web site on radioactivity. All you want to know about the cool products that contain radiation from uranium are listed here.

My favorite pick

The idea is that you drink the water coming out of this revigator. The radioactive water is exceptionally healthy for you according to studies (see below). Theodore Gray (the author of this web-catalog on uranium) proposes a nice parallel to our current expectations of what is "natural", assuming natural is pure and unharmful. This object came from a time where radioactivity was considered "natural".

The claim that it can't possibly be harmful because it's not a drug or medicine, it's all natural. The "it" being radon gas, which is now known to be one of the most powerfully toxic substances in the world, so toxic that even barely measurable concentrations from natural sources are a problem in many people's houses.

The study

Here is the book that describes the revigator.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

An outside of the dysmorphic body

Screenshots from the video

In this sculpture the dysmorphic body is reappropriated to create an outside of the body and therefore exemplify its disproportion.

Screenshots from the video

For this video, I arranged lights and shadows to create a positive out of a negative impression that I carved in the mold. I reappropriate the dysmorphic body and through the camera I confuse the eye of the viewer and create the illusion of a body being carved. Finally, I end the video by using a string to present the illusion trick to the viewer, the string is a link between the inside and the outside.

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Material: plaster
Video: Raw data with no editing