6. Desire has often been conceived in terms of a lack: we desire what we lack, and we move endlessly (and impossibly) towards the object of desire. Against this notion, Gilles Deleuze conceives desire as a constructive force: desire produces its own objects. Taking up this idea of desire as a constructive, creative, productive activity, consider art and design practices as ways of exploring the possibilities of desire.
For this question I chose to explore the way women are mostly subject to desire within media. With this, I solely focused on magazines and their influence on the socially contracted views of what women should ‘desire’ in terms of their body’s, hair, makeup, and overall appearance. A typical woman’s magazine contains around one hundred pages filled with advertisements showcasing objects of desire, modelled by admirable women. Within the A4 booklet, the endless pages of shoes, makeup, accessories, models, fitness plans, meal plans and body goals, enforces women to reflect on their own life and see how much of these materialistic things they lack. The layering and ripping of the paper is to show that underneath the socially constructed views of desire, is a human that is being pushed and pulled to be constructed into the person that media/society believes to be right .
Nancy Spero’s artwork, Notes in Time reflects on the political, social and cultural concerns during her career as an artist in New York. It is a non-narrative artwork which celebrates the female form, whilst documenting the female struggle against stereotypes.
This piece influenced my poster in terms of concept. The portrayal of women in the world and the way history, the media and general public expects and has constructed us to be.
I believe this artwork relates to my poster as it explores the portrayal of women and the ways in which we are perceived by males
When researching for this assessment, I found an undergraduate research journal for the human sciences. This journal explores the portrayal of women on the covers of four major magazines, in terms of poses, weight and facial expression.
The statistics within this journal influenced my poster when it came to photographing my friend for the centre object of my poster. The editing, makeup, hair, and pose of my model was influenced by the research within this journal.
This object inspired my work as it was one of my experiments (before I knew it was an experiment). When in class, out of frustration (due to lack of ideas) I started to rip at a folded piece of paper. This then began the structure of my poster. The layers and layers of paper reflected on my poster as it refers to the pages of magazines and the huge impact the socially constructed views for desire have on women. With this paper, I was inspired to then go and practice this technique on magazines, before extending it to A2 size.
Hannah Wilke, S.O.S. (Starification Object Series),
“In these photos she merged her minimalist sculpture with her own body by creating tiny vulval sculptures out of chewing gum and sticking them to herself. Wilke posed herself in various pin-up poses to combine an essence of glamour and to resemble tribal scarification. Her poses were meant to exaggerate and satirize American cultural values of feminine beauty and fashion.” http://sparklesfap.wordpress.com/feminist-artist/
This artwork and artist inspired my poster both in terms of concept and practice. The exaggeration and satire of cultural values is what I wanted to grasp within my photography of my model. The exploration of this concept within Wilke’s artwork inspires me greatly.
Beyonce, Song: Flawless, 2014.
This song by the artist Beyonce is about the empowerment of women. Within the song there is an interlude by Nigerian-born writer and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The song excerpts the author’s TED Talk on feminism:
We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller
We say to girls: “You can have ambition, but not too much
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful
Otherwise, you will threaten the man.”
Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is most important
Now, marriage can be a source of joy and low and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way boys are
Feminist: a person who believes in the social,
Political, and economic equality of the sexes
This song influenced my poster as it embodies the strength of women, instead of de-grading them as many magazines do. Beyonce as an artist as well as this song embodies feminism and this song challenges the depiction of women and their status/role in society. As this is something I strongly agree with, as well as a slight obsession with Beyonce as an artist and a person, I chose to incorporate her within my artwork.