On Your Doorstep

Sian Bonnell – Everyday Dada

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For our last lecture we looked at the topic ‘On Your Doorstep’, looking at artists that have photographed from their houses or/and local area, I was really interested by Sian Bonnell’s project ‘Everyday Dada’ because it’s something very unique and something that I’ve never seen before. This project is very creative, I would never have thought to do something like she’s done and I think that it’s work like this that stands out and is really eye-catching. My favourite photograph from this project would probably have to be the iron and the pasta photo:

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I think this photograph is the strongest of the collection as I feel as if it’s the most creative. The pasta being straightened out by the iron is more appealing to me than the spaghetti on the table, the egg hanging from the coat hanger and the other photographs in the series as to me it tells more of a story. Another photo in this series which I think tells a story is the pancake in the washing up tub, I think this is creative as you can tell that the pancake is supposed to be a cloth and can see that reference clearly, it’s things like that which I think help to make the photograph more appealing as it’s like a play on words, but a play on objects, a clever way to make something that people will remember because of how unique it is. Saying that, the stranger looking photos in this series, for example the egg on the hanger, would also be remembered because of how uniquely strange it is.

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Many other of the photos in this series have that same look of replacing objects with something else, like the eggs being used as mats in the bathroom and bread being used as floorboards. As well as these there’s also the kitchen tiling made of ham and egg. All of these are the photographs that I like the best from this series as they’re visually more interesting than the other photos from the series.

 

Overall I think that Sian Bonnell’s work is very interesting and probably my favourite artist from this particular lecture, the other work doesn’t stand out to me as well as her work because it’s the quirky look of her photographs that catch my eye, the other artists that we were shown in this lecture weren’t quite as appealing to me, although I did like some of Andre Kertesz’s photographs that he took from his apartment windows and terrace, taken with the polaroid camera that he was given after the death of his wife.

 

 Andre Kertesz

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My favourite two from his polaroid collection taken from his apartment are these two, I like these two photographs because I think they are very powerful images. The first one looks to me like it represents him and his wife being together and then the second one looks like it represents him being without his wife and being alone. The photos having those sort of stories behind them I think are what makes them powerful, being able to read an image like that and having that idea of what the photographer was thinking and what you think they were trying to portray is what makes the photos interesting as different people may think different things when they see the photos and therefore the photos would have many different stories. I also like these two photos because of the composition of them, I think the composition works really well in both shots and especially like the reflections that are in the figures. With the background being blurred it focuses on the subject more, the figures, but then you can also see the background in the foreground, from the reflections, which adds to the image as it gives it a more abstract and surreal look to the photos, making them more interesting to look at. I really like Andre Kertesz’s black and white photography and find them very inspirational and it’s interesting to see these photographs by him as they’re very different to his other photography, not just because they’re polaroid in colour rather than black and white but because they have a different meaning behind them. A lot of his photography would be looking at shadows so for these ones to be completely different it shows the many photographic techniques that he has and how he can photograph many different styles of photography, he doesn’t just photography one chosen style, landscape for example.

 

Nigel Shafran

Another photographer that we looked at was Nigel Shafran, we looked at his project ‘Dad’s Office’, a series of photographs of the contents of the abandoned rooms from which his father had once worked. I was interested in this series as it shares something personal to him and tells us viewers a story and insight to what his Dad’s office was like and gives us an idea of the workplace and it’s all something that he can remember his father by. However, I was only really interested in the background story of the photographs, I think the photographs themselves are rather bleak and they don’t really stand out to me as much as the other photography from the lecture.

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As you can see, the photographs are that interesting, nothing stands out or is eye-catching, which I guess isn’t the idea behind the photographs, he just wants to document what his Dad’s office was like but I think that for these photographs to be presented in a book and published that it is quite strange. With it being personal to Shafran I think that the book should be like a family album type book, something he and his family can look through together to remember the memories of his Dad’s workplace, I don’t think that it being published and sold is helping him much as not everyone will want to see what his Dad’s office was like and probably wouldn’t be interested in the photographs in the book, whereas Shafran and his family would, which is why I think it should’ve been kept personal and not published for the public. If I were to photograph something personal to me it would be for myself, not the public eye. I would probably put them in a book like Shafran has as it’s nice to flick through a book of photographs as they’re displayed nicely, rather than them being individual prints. Also, you could put a personal message in the book and it’s a nice way to save memories in one place, but I wouldn’t of published it to sell, with it being personal to me, I’d rather keep it to myself and not share with the public.

Debate Presentation

 

For our debate we were given a topic based on Walker Evans’ quote, “All photography is exploitative and voyeuristic”, our group was for the debate rather than against and we decided that we would give one another different photographic genres to research that is relatable to all photography being exploitative and voyeuristic. Once we had each done our research we met back up as a group and shared what we had found before piecing it together as a presentation and running through who does what slide and prompting ourselves what to say.

First we looked at the dictionary definition of exploitative and voyeuristic to have a better understanding of what they mean and what we should be researching to backup our debate.

We looked at the FSA Scheme, which was a photographic scheme set up to capture post-depression America, for example, probably one of the more well-known photos, ‘Migrant Mother’ by Dorothea Lange. Was ‘the migrant mother’ a symbol of hope, or victim of exploitation? As you can see in the slide there were different photos of the ‘migrant mother’, one close up portrait of the mother and another photo of the whole family. Were these photographs over exaggerated to exploit viewers emotions?

We then looked at Sally Mann’s photography of her naked children, we thought this was exploitative and voyeuristic as the children were too young to understand the repercussions, and although she had her children’s permission to photograph them, the children were underage so shouldn’t be been photographed and then presented in books and exhibitions. Also it’s exploitation of a child’s naivety and harmful for child’s future. She may not be the voyeur as she has her children’s ‘permission’ but we as the viewers are forced to become voyeurs of her and her children’s intimate lives.

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After this we looked into one of Richard Billingham’s projects, ‘Ray’s a Laugh’, this project could be considered educational and give social class awareness as it’s showing what happens to people in different parts of life, how they look, how they act, the difference in characteristics, and how it may effect their family, for example, the state the house is in.

“Richard Billingham’s “Ray’s a Laugh”, published in 2000 by Scalo, is a bone jarring chronicle of the parts of life that shouldn’t… the life that tried, but wouldn’t, and dreams that simply couldn’t. It is a chronicle of everything that hurts… a cartoonish-nightmare jaunt through the land of alcohol-living, wet-smelly breath that stinks and simmers, chapped-lips that burn and crack, of space to live that shrinks and crowds further inward, of carpet that rots, of scratched linoleum that looks as if it wants to escape, of paint that wants to peel away and go somewhere else, of childhood dreams that learn to stay in the closet and behave, that learn to stay in my butts, far away, of love and devotion that exists but is trampled on by vice and forcefully dominated by earthly human-short-circuits. It is a photographic vision of magnificence… but, magnificence in poverty and pain, in tragedy, of brilliance in ugliness, an aesthetic tour-de-snapshot-force of voyeurism and realism.” D. Rickard, 2010.

All of this is what other people wouldn’t even realise is going on, so this project helps show awareness, whilst also capturing horrible times that people usually don’t want to show and what people probably wouldn’t want to see. This is exploitive, but for educational purposes. However, is this harmful?

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We then looked at advertising and CGI in photography, for example, the advertising for Subway. The tasty looking Subway sandwich looks really appealing and appetizing, obviously so that it would make people want to go to Subway and buy a sandwich, however this advertising isn’t of an actual sandwich, the sandwich being used as advertisement is made of clay. This is as it’s making use of a situation, advertisement, and treating customers unfairly by making them believe that is what their sandwich will be like and they’re doing that in order to gain an advantage and benefit, sales.

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We also looked into car advertisement, these photographs or/and video advertisements are mostly all CGI, hardly any of them are actually photographs of the car itself, or some may partly be photographs but then edited beyond photographs and into CGI. “At least 80 to 90% of ads actually contain some CGI, especially car ads.” M, Varley. 2013. This therefore glamorizes the car and making it look better than it is, which is exploitive as again, it’s making the customers think highly of the product by the look of it on advertisements and therefore buying that product, which won’t be as good as the advertisement as the advertisements aren’t the real thing, again, treating them unfairly in order to gain an advantage and benefit. “Computers have been used for years to create fantasy images and improve landscapes in ads, creating generic cityscapes and inserting well-known landmarks into the background. But the question on the consumer’s lips now is “why use trickery”?” M, Varley. 2013.

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Another exploitative and voyeuristic part of photography is modelling, models having to be a certain size is for the purpose of sales, which is exploitive. Also, airbrushing the model to remove any imperfections or/and flaws is exploitive as it’s making use of a situation, models possibly having slight imperfections, and editing them in Photoshop, which is treating them unfairly so that they can benefit from it by making more sales. This is harmful as it’s creating examples for how people think they should look, which causes self doubt and lack of confidence and these models would be influential women for younger people who would do extreme things to themselves to look like those models do.

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We then looked into landscape photography and found a photographer called Michael Wolf, who photographs people through the windows of their homes or/and workplace. This is voyeuristic and exploitive of peoples privacy and situations, watching people and making use of the fact that they won’t know it’s happening, exploiting them for the benefit of his photography. We also looked at Doug Rickard’s project, A New American Picture, this project is taking images of different streets in America from Google Maps street view and editing them to make a project out of. These images are of misery and bad weather conditions, showing misfortune. “All of the images are appropriated from Google Street View; over a period of two years, Rickard took advantage of the technology platform’s comprehensive image archive to virtually drive the unseen and overlooked roads of America, bleak places that are forgotten, economically devastated, and often abandoned.” (unknown source – taken from google books description). This is exploitive as again, the people don’t know they’re being used as part of project, which is invading their privacy and is harmful because those people may not want to be seen in those conditions or publicly in a exhibition.

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Finally, we looked at commercial landscape photography. Commercial landscape photography is exploitive of viewers as they are usually for selling a place, editing is used to glamourize the place and make the place look perfect, creating images that are enticing. This is exploitive as the location that is photographed may not look anything like it should after being glamourized.

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http://anewkindofmarketing.utalkmarketing.com/tag/car/ – M, Varley. 2013

http://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/07/richard-billingham-rays-laugh.html – D, Rickard. 2010.

The Family Album & Social Media

Everybody has a family album, whether they own it themselves or their grandparents do, their grandparents probably also have their own family album too. Family albums get passed down from generation to generation and the next generation are always adding more photos to the album of more recent occasions or/and family members. Indeed, it could be said that ‘the family album produces the family, produces particular forms of family’ (Kuhn, 2002 p.20).

With their being disposable cameras even the children in the family can take photographs whilst on holiday or wherever they may be as there’s no camera settings to fiddle with, they’re just point and shoots and then the film can be developed after by Boots or wherever else people may go to get them developed.

Disposable cameras are really good because they’re so simple to use and it encourages people to take photos as it’s really easy to do. Many families would want to remember certain occasions, for example; birthdays, christmas, weddings, kids’ first day at school, graduation etc, so with there being disposable cameras they can easily take it along with them and capture memories of those moments, they could even use a compact camera as they are also simple to use, plus they wouldn’t have to get the film developed, they could transfer them onto their computers and create a slideshow/powerpoint of their photos to show others.

Depending on the family member behind the camera, some photographs may be funny shots rather than serious moments in the family, these may not be included in the family album but with the compact camera being digital and the photos being easy to transfer onto the computer, these funny photos may end up being uploaded to Facebook or other social media sites to share with family and friends to laugh at whatever it is that may be funny in the photo.

The problem here in that with photos being really easy to upload onto the various social media sites, people may take it too far and upload photos that they probably shouldn’t or share photos that may offend other people online and potentially get the person in trouble. Facebook has 1.11 Billion users so photos are being shared all the time from all over the world, with that many people using the site, photos being shared could be seen by everyone and not everyone will find the photo as funny as the person who uploaded it does, as well as this people may upload photos that they didn’t even mean to, which could cause problems with people online as well as the person who uploaded it as they would no doubt be embarrassed by what they accidentally uploaded for the world to see.

 

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For example American politician, Anthony Weiner who accidentally tweeted a picture of his penis to the 75,000 followers that he has on Twitter, this accident ended up losing him his job and gave up one of the longest running Democratic Congressional seats in political history.

 

Everybody uses the internet nowadays and no doubt use it most days, it isn’t just photos of family and friends and photos of themselves that they upload, they may see something funny whilst out and about or see a funny sign that they think it worth sharing, it may even be a spelling mistake that turns the sentence into something completely different which is then found amusing by other people so they upload it onto the internet and it gets shared around the social networking sites.

I found some examples of this whilst searching for embarrassing photos and spelling mistake photos.

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As you can see here there’s a mistake in the writing and this could happen many of times and be uploaded into the internet for everyone to see, although it is always funny when it happens people need to check what they are uploading before they share it with the world, especially if it’s of them, their family or something personal to them.

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Family photos could be the same as these sort of photos with letters being covered up or spelling missing, these sort of photos are probably binned, deleted or kept out of the family album but the odd few could end up on the internet.

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Their family album probably wouldn’t of included this photo but somehow it made it onto the internet, lots of photos get onto social networking sites all of the time and families and friends of the family could not appreciate the photo being online but once the photo is on the internet it could be shared around by many of different people and be uploaded onto other sites and getting the photo removed from the internet completely could be challenging, this is why you need to check what you’re uploading before it’s too late.

I think family albums were better when they were taken on film, whether that’s from a disposable camera or using a film camera, I think that it was better that was as the photos would be as they were taken, they couldn’t be edited like digital files could and unless they were scanned into the computer they couldn’t be uploaded onto the computer and cause potential problems. Social network sites are full of bad photos of people and photoshopped photos that cause controversy, especially with photos of celebrities. Family photos should be kept to the families and in family albums rather than posted and shared online as anything could happen to those photos whereas if they’re kept in the family album then they’re only going to be shared amongst family.

 

Bibliography:

Kuhn, A., (2002) Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination London: Verso.

 

Visual Representation

I think tattoos and piercings could be related to visual representation as well as subculture as some tattoos could shock people and some people may find people with tattoos or/and piercings disturbing, which is the subculture part but also it’s up to the person what they want to do with their body, they present themselves how they want to be seen. This also relates back to subculture as it goes back to how people look, their fashion and the way they act. Some people with many tattoos and piercings can be labelled as freaks and have been stereotyped as not being unemployed as they can’t get a job due to their appearance. This is all down to their style and possibly their interests too, as they could be interested in body art and body manipulation.

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This could be represented in art by photographers or painters photographing/painting what portraits of how these people look and depending on the situation could try to represent them as being good people and the tattoos and piercings not making a difference to who they are or they could represent them in another way and show that they are different, it can be shocking but it’s who they want to be and what they want to look like.

There is a Canadian man called Rick Genest, Genest was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour and was on the waiting list for 6 months, where he contemplated his own life and possible death, before undergoing the surgery with minimal complications. Leaving his house one day, Genest went for a walk and decided to live downtown, on rooftops and in dumpsters or under bridges.Hitchhiking became his main method of transportation. According to his video, he started living “an anarchistic lifestyle”. He claims to have already been introduced to punk rock, the punk scene and freak shows before his decision to tattoo himself.

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Rick Genest with tattoos and how he looked before he got his tattoos.

Genest was covered in tattoos which made him look like a living skeleton and was known as Rico the Zombie. He worked in various sideshows and freak shows across Canada as an illustrated man, geek and as self declared clown. Not long after beginning his facial tattoos, he was first introduced to the public on November 13th 2006 in a blog post by Shannon Larratt on BME‘s ModBlog.

After being introduced he had first interview in March 2008, by which time his iconic tattoos were largely completed. In this interview Rick clarified that he preferred the moniker “Zombie” to “Skullboy”, as BME had been referring to him. From the interview he was noticed by Bizarre magazine and got a feature in the magazine as well as a role in a TV movie called Carny.

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Bizarre Magazine

I think the way you present yourself is important because it’s good to be different and make yourself unique. Going back to saying how people are represented as being unemployed due to their appearance with tattoos and piercings I think Rick Genest proves that statement wrong as it’s his tattoos that got him noticed and what got him the jobs that he has now.

There is a fan page made on Facebook for Genest and his tattoos and that fan page reached over 2 million likes and it was from this fan page that Lady Gaga‘s fashion director Nicola Formichetti discovered him and from that he got many jobs in fashion. On January 19th 2011 Genest was featured in the new Thierry Mugler Autumn/Winter men’s collection, headlining it on the brand’s website, he also got a job with Formichetti on one of her collections too. The show was accompanied by a video featuring Rico shot by fashion photographer Mariano Vivanco. He later featured alongside Lady Gaga in the fashion show for the women’s 2011 Autumn/Winter line, as well as this he also featured in one of Lady Gaga’s music videos. He’s also had features in  the sixth volume of Vogue Hommes Japan, in 2011, the editorial being titled “Hard To Be Passive” and also the Spring/Summer issue of GQ Style.

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Rick Genest – Thierry Mugler Autumn/Winter men’s collection, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vogue by Valerio Vivanco

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Rick Genest & Lady Gaga – ‘Born This Way’ music video

 

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ImageImage Rick Genest – GQ Style magazine.
Photography by Aline & Jacqueline Tappia

 

So people presenting themselves differently to other people by getting covered in tattoos or/and piercings and making body modifications doesn’t always mean that they will end up unemployed because of their appearance as it’s Genest unique appearance which got him noticed and which started the career that he now has, as an artist, actor and fashion model. Infact, it may be argued that ‘the fact that Genest has managed to achieve a measure of mainstream fame tells us how far tattoos have changed, and how far society has come in accepting, at least partially, non-mainstream body modifications’ (DeMello, 2013 p.209)

I think this is all down to visual representation as if Rick Genest didn’t have his tattoos he probably wouldn’t of been noticed by Shannon Larratt so he wouldn’t of got the interview and wouldn’t of been brought into the public eye and wouldn’t of been discovered by Nicola Formichetti and therefore wouldn’t have got the various fashion modelling jobs he got and wouldn’t of been featured in Lady Gaga’s music video.

I think it was good of Formichetti and Aline & Jacqueline Tappia to represent him the way they did and show him as a professional fashion model rather than a freakshow as it shows that even with many tattoos and piercings you can still have a job and be successful.

Genest has featured in many different magazines since and has had roles in other films since his role in Carny, these films include; Aquario in 2011, 47 Ronin in 2012 as well as In Faustian Fashion in 2012 and Love at Last Sight in 2014.

Other magazines that he’s featured in include; Schon magazine, Fashion Magazine, WestEast magazine and Traffic magazine.

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Schon Magazine

 

 

 

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Fashion Magazine

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Traffic Magazine

He also had a photoshoot with Kenny Pilcrow aka Savon Photography where they shot him looking a bit more like a freakshow than the previous shoots he has had with fashion magazines, music videos and various other modelling jobs.

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Rick Genest – Savon Photography

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Savon Photography

 

Bibliography:

DeMello, M (2013) Body Studies: An Introduction New York: Routledge

sources:

http://skullsproject.wordpress.com/tag/rick-genest/

http://www.bloginvoga.com/2011/06/09/rick-genest-zombie-boy-estrela-a-capa-da-fashion-magazine-polonesa-ao-lado-de-monica-jagaciak/

http://rickgenest.com/index.php 

Subculture, Shock & Style

I think subculture is mainly based on a person’s origins and how they were grew up, there’s different cultures around the world, and depending on how they were grew up. For example, if somebody was born into poverty then they would of grown up with not a lot and had to of lived of whatever they could get and if somebody was born into a high class family, they’d of grown up being able to have a lot and could easily get what they wanted. This also goes into subculture, high class people could be known by others as snobs or posh whereas people living in poverty will be known as poor and sometimes people can be labelled from the culture they are. Stereotyping could also be brought into culture and subculture as sometimes coloured people could be stereotyped and labelled as being terrorists, people who steal things, carry knives or other weapons etc and that is down to their culture and where they were grew up.

Subculture could be about the clothes people wear or the way they act or even by what they are interested in, for example, mods, punks, skinheads and rockers are different subcultures and they were labelled by their look, their interests in music and fashion.

 

 

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Nowadays subcultures would probably be emos, goths, chavs, skaters and various others. Chavs are probably the more well-known subcultures at the moment as people labelled as chavs are always being brought up and talked about, if somebody were to wear a tracksuit or a hoodie with the hood up for example, they would be seen by others as chavs, whereas if somebody was wearing a lot of black clothing and maybe makeup they would be seen as goths or possibly even emos. I think these subcultures go back to the roots of how subculture used to be with mods, punks and skinheads, it’s down to the way they look, their interests and their fashion style. “the history of postwar british fashion and music formations reveals the collective ways in which non-elite groups and communities of young people have shaped distinctive cultures as ‘particular ways of life’. Music and fashion have been used as common symbolic resources for the production of such sharply differentiated cultural identities as those of the rockers, mods, skinheads and punks.”  Childs, P. (1999) p. 187

 

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Goths

 

 

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Skaters

 

I also think tattoos and piercings could be related to subculture as some tattoos could shock people and some people may find people with tattoos or/and piercings disturbing. It is up to the person what they want to do with their body but people with many tattoos and piercings can be labelled as freaks and have been stereotyped as not being unemployed as they can’t get a job due to their appearance. This is all down to their style and possibly their interests too, as they could be interested in body art and body manipulation. “The body alterations adornment ‘scene’ has become a distinct and visible subculture in contemporary Britain.” “Although tattoos and certain forms of piercings (especially ear piercing) have long been popular, other forms of body adornment have also percolated into the mainstream (nose and naval piercing, for example)” “Proponents of body alteration argue that the body is a primary means of self-expression, and that adornment is a form of resistance to powerlessness in modern life”  Childs, P. (1999)  p. 68.

 

In art culture and subculture was brought to everybody’s attention in the 19th century when modernist avant-garde began. It has a complex history, though we can say that one of its central ideas was to ‘shock’.

The French artists and poets called this ‘Épater la bourgeoisie’ which translates as ‘shock the middle‐classes’.

Avant-garde changed art as it changed the way people understood art and made them think different of art as it was a lot different to how they saw it before. The idea of avant-garde was to shock people, this was down by art being made which people had never seen before.

Marcel Duchamp shocked a lot of people which some of his work and a lot of people had many different thoughts and opinions of his work, for example the installation he did in 1917 called ‘Fountain’. Fountain was a urinal which he turned upside down and had displayed as an installation art piece in various gallery exhibitions. Duchamp also shocked people when he had a portrait taken by Man Ray in 1921, this portrait was of Duchamp wearing makeup and dressed in woman’s clothes, Duchamp called himself Rose Selavy and that was his female alterego. Other artwork by Duchamp that shocked people was his parody of the Mona Lisa, this artwork done in 1919 was Mona Lisa with a beard and moustache, Duchamp referred to this work as ready-made art. His ready-made art involved taking ordinary objects, not generally considered to be art and transforming them by adding to them or changing them. “Some deny that Fountain is art but believe it is significant for the history of art and aesthetics. Others accept it grudgingly as art but deny that it is significant. To complete the circle, some insist Fountain is neither art nor an object of historical consequence, while a few assert that it is both art and significant – though for utterly incompatible reasons.”  Kuenzi, R. (1991) p. 64.

 

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Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, 1917

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Rose Selavy (Marcel Duchamp) by Man Ray, 1921

 

Other artwork which shocked people was Chris Burden’s Transfixed which he did in 1974. This artwork saw Chris Burden nailed to the back of a Volkswagen Beetle by one of his friends. This work was already shocking by the fact that he was nailed to the back of a car but the Volkswagen was then driven through the street where it obstructed traffic, this obviously shocked many of the people driving through the streets at that moment in time, which would also have been very disturbing to see.

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Transfixed by Chris Burden, 1974

Other shocking art, which was a lot different to Chris Burden’s was the work of Lynda Benglis who in 1917 placed a picture of herself naked with a fake penis in an advert for the journal, Artforum. This shocked a lot of people as when reading through the journal they’d see this picture and it would be very unexpected and disturbing to come across in the journal.

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Lynda Benglis’ Artforum ad, 1917

I found artwork by painter-sculptor Izumi Kato which I thought was subculture based, especially his sculptures. I looked at one of his projects called ‘A View From Afar’ which he did in 2011. A View From Afar was a mix of sculptures and paintings and was in the Comme des Garçons Six Osaka Gallery. I thought that this project was subcultural as it the sculptures and paintings look very strange and maybe even disturbing and I feel as if seeing them in the gallery may shock people, here are some examples of A View From Afar.

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Bibliography

Childs, P. (1999) Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture, London, Routledge

Kuenzli, R. (1991) Marcel Duchamp: Artist of the Century  Massachusetts, MIT Press

 

source: http://www.en.ozartsetc.com/2011/07/19/the-view-from-afar-by-izumi-kato/

source: http://www.google.com/images

Men at Work by Lewis Hine

Industrialisation

Men at Work by Lewis Hine

Empire State Building Series, 1930

 

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The construction of the Empire State Building began back in the 1930’s. It employed around 3,400 workers, most of them being European immigrants. Hine found the perfect setting for his photographs here because it exposed the daily dangers the workers were subjected to. It revealed the huge risks these workers were willing to go through to get the job done. The photographs showed the working conditions, that lacked any kind of security, with people in a delicate balance and acrobatic poses that trusted God or luck not to fall. The employees were who knows how many feet up in the air without any sort of safety rope to help them hold on incase of a mishap. It is quite strange that evening these terrifying conditions only five workers died in work accidents during the construction of the building. Just goes to show how dedicated these brave men were.  After the Empire State Building was completed, Hine’s published his book Men at Work, emphasizing the dangers of the workplace.

 

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Power House Mechanic Working on Steam Pump

 

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Man working the Empire State Building, 1930

 

 

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 The Construction of the Empire State Building, 1930-1931

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Empire State Building Series, 1930

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I think these photographs by Lewis Hine of men working on the Empire State building shows what work when working in industrialisation as it shows the heights that you may have to work from and the dangers that come with working at those heights, as you can see in the photographs they don’t have any safety or support when working at the height that they are and that could possibly lead to death. This shows how tough work is in the industrial society as you’re doing a job that could potentially kill you. Working in the industrial society is portrayed very effectively in these photographs as Lewis Hine was there with the works documenting what was happening. This shows working in industrialisation exactly as it is and shows how hard work was for the workers as they had to work on such tall buildings like the Empire State Building, without safety or support of any kind. 

 

 

Child Labour

Lewis Hine, 1910

 

A century ago our country was very poor, flooded with all sorts of immigrants and migrates. Such a rapid increase of population and pretty much nowhere to house them all. However, the saddest part is not the fact that there were at least eight families living in one house but that there were many children left to fend for themselves in the streets. In the New York of Riis’s day approximately 100,000 children lived on the streets, making a living for their survival by selling newspapers, blacking boots, begging, and stealing. These children lived in the slums of New York slept wherever they could. 

This statement proves how tough it was around the time of industrialisation as it tells you how badly children had to live, being on the streets, surviving off of selling newspapers, blacking people’s boots, begging and even stealing. These children lived in the slums of New York and slept wherever they could. At least eight families living in one house, those that couldn’t fit in houses were living on streets and a lot of the time those people living on streets were children.

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Children sleeping in Mulberry Street by Jacob Riis

New York, United States (1890)

 

 As you can see in the picture above these three children had nowhere to sleep so decided to sleep on the street of Mulberry Street. The homeless children were either left by their drunken parents or left in search of a better future. At times the children were lucky enough to find a lodging house that would house them. They had to pay rent of course but it was better than sleeping and starving on the cold streets of New York. The children having to pay rent to stay in a lodging house shows how much those children must of had to work to be able to afford to stay living in that house, they would of had to have tried to be employed by industrial factories and worked many long hours to have the money to afford their living.

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Child Carrying Two Boxes of Fruit

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Street Child

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The demand for labour increased in the late 19th century, many children were drawn into the labour force. The factory wages their parents earned were so low that the children often had to work to help support their families. These photographs really show how bad the industrial society got and how tough work was as they had to bring in children and have children work alongside the industrial workers and from the photos you can tell how some don’t look very old at all. For young children to be working such tough jobs it must of been really hard for them to cope and that again shows the amount of work you have to put in when working in industrialisation, also a lot of the young workers are dirty and looking really tired so that shows how hard work was like back then as nowadays children of that age wouldn’t be working and probably wouldn’t until they’re around sixteen.

With the children being paid a lower wage than the adults it also shows how tough it can be in the industrial society as they’re willing to employ children under the age of 15 to do the jobs that their parents would be doing. Children were employed due to being good for work because of their small hands, which made them more suitable to handle small parts and tools, this proves how dangerous the industrial society is again as those children may not know how to handle those small parts and tools and they could cause themselves a lot of damage. As well as this, working in factories often lead to serious health problems for children, for example, most were underweight, had stunted growth and curvature of the spine.

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Trapper Boy

 

This little boy in the picture above who worked in the coalmines also developed diseases such as tuberculosis or bronchitis from breathing in all those fumes, he also faced a higher accident rate because the children were small enough to crawl deeper into the mine and risk being crushed or drowned if the mine was flooded. All the hard work and long hours that the children put in also reduced their childhood and innocence as at such a young age they were already used to the work of an adult, putting up with the stress, tough work and long hours that they’d be putting up with.

 

Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin

Industrialisation
Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin
Modern Times is a film directed and produced by Charlie Chaplin, in this film Chaplin stars as a tramp struggling to survive in a modern industrial society, he created with Modern Times, one of the most elaborate cinematic critiques of the effects of mass production on 20th century life. With his usual charm and bad luck, Charlie Chaplin’s most famous character, The Tramp, executes some of his most famous slapstick routines around glorified machines, accidentally ends up in the middle of a communist rally and falls in love with a woman from the street, played by Chaplin’s then real-life partner Paulette Goddard.
I think this is an interesting way of showing of showing industrialisation and the industrial society as rather than it being a documentary or a book explaining industrialisation it’s shown through comedy and with it being shown in a comedic way it grabs the viewers in a different way than a documentary or book would. With the use of comedy the viewers would find the film funny and laugh at it whilst gaining a knowledge and understanding of what life is like in a modern industrial society, whereas watching it in a documentary or reading it in a book the attention is more facts and true stories, which to some people may be quite boring.
I like the way this film is directed as it shows the similarities between various things, for example the start of the film, the pigs being crowded together and sent through the machines and the workers rushing into the factory in a crowd. As well as this it also shows the differences between the staff in the factory, showing how whilst the workers will be rushing around and doing tough jobs the manager, or in this case ‘president’ would be in his office doing a puzzle and reading the newspaper whilst everyone is working. Also, the president would be brought tea and a cigarette and wouldn’t say thank you, he would just give the worker a slight glance as she walks away, this shows how tough the modern industrial society can be as it shows how whilst everyone in the factory is working their best, the manager or head of the company doesn’t pay enough attention to the workers and how hard they work.
The use of comedy in the film, with Chaplin messing up the job and causing other workmen to be interrupted and annoyed with what they’re doing adds laughter to the film but also shows how if a worker does something wrong a lot of the other works could become annoyed and complain a lot, which gives an idea of what it’s like to work in an industrial society.
Also, with Charlie Chaplin always messing up the job and being told off by the president whereas other workers are doing a good job and being praised by the president, the film shows the different ranks of workers in an industrial society. I think it also shows how serious the industrial society is as at some parts of the film Chaplin is playing around and doing something other than his job and the other workers then looking very serious about their job and wondering what he’s doing, then rushing to carry on their work after he distracts them. By the way Chaplin’s character acts the film it’s almost like he’s the clown of the workplace and I think that could also be a reference to the industrial society as in the modern industrial society there could always be that one worker that doesn’t quite know what he’s doing and therefore slows down the rest of the workers.
With the people coming into the presidents office with an invention of theirs and the president being confused and now knowing what is going on it shows how even if you are the head of the place you’re working at there’s also someone of a higher position than you, which references to the industrial society as it again shows the rank of workers and shows how there could always be someone better than you in the work place. The invention then proving to work well before then messing up also proves how not everything can is perfect first time and may have to be made many more times before it is it’s best, which shows how hard you have to work in the industrial society in order to get things right, proving how tough industrialisation can be. Also with the comedy side of the food being forced into his mouth and the facial expressions he makes it adds laughter to the misfortune that people would of otherwise took rather seriously and would see as being dangerous. However if you see post the comedy of it, it could explain the dangers of working in the industrial society.
I didn’t watch all of the film but from what I did watch I’d say that Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin explains industrialisation very well as shows what life is like in the industrial society and goes into detail of what it’s like working in the industrial society, the rush and stress of it all and the facts of the rank of workers in the workplaces, how tough working in industrialisation.