Act 4

January 23, 2008

Following on from last weeks act that reflected on the changing body shapes of women I decided to continue with that theme on a practical level. Because of my belief that the male body is subconsciously considered the norm by the majority of western society and that this is reflected in the garments put out by the clothing industry I choose to go against the grain and only wear clothes that are designed to accommodate the naturally changing body shapes of women. For years now I have chosen to only wear clothes that are adjustable in their fit, either with wraps or with stretch fabric etc. This has not only been fabulous for my self-esteem, but also very useful in helping me cope with the amazing body changes due to pregnancy – as having to only make minor adjustments to my wardrobe meant one less giant identity change to cope with. With that in mind, this week’s act is a tutorial on how to make a bias cut skirt that is designed to respect a naturally changing body shape.

Act 3

January 15, 2008

Act three is a digital image, again intended for use as a blog icon. In this image I explore the idea of woman as monster – of myself as monster.

prettygirlmonster.jpg

As I am writing this I realise I have a fair bit of explaining to do as to what I mean by woman as monster – but I don’t want to procrastinate publishing this act, because that way lies the failure of this project. So I am putting it up here as is, with the intent to discuss it further at a later date.

Previously, on my research blog, I wrote:
What is a monster? In literature it seems to be a person (or part person) that is out of control. Frankenstein’s Monster, Mr Hyde, the Hulk, werewolves, and even serial killers in literature are considered monsters because they are out of control (be it control of their bodies, there desires or their animal impulses).

Consider the Hulk when compared to the mythical figure of Hercules. Both are very strong and at the extreme end of the masculine spectrum. Both are enhanced humans, both have thoughts and feelings. The thing that seems to separate them from each other and makes Hercules a hero and the Hulk a monster is that Hercules has control over his strength while the Hulk has little control over his impulses.

Consider also Jesus vs Medusa. Both are reported to have the power of transformation – Jesus reportedly turned water into wine and inanimate objects into food, while medusa has the power to turn flesh into stone. Apart from the obvious benevolent nature of Jesus (and all that son of god stuff), a big difference between the two is that Jesus can chose how to use his power while Medusa is said to turn everyone who looks into her eyes to stone.

I contend that the split between the monstrous and the divine is not in power, but in control.

I believe that women can be seen as monsters because their bodies are perceived as dangerously out of control.

Act 2 – The Process

January 10, 2008

In the spirit of open source culture part of what I really want to do here with Fifty Two Acts is to show a bit about the process of creating the things that I do. In addition to posting the creative parcels themselves and giving conceptual information I would like to make my creative process as transparent and as replicable as possible. I envision this site as part blog, part artwork, part resource and part tutorial. This weeks project was created using original photography, photoshop (including selective colour and brushes), and finished in image ready. I am not going to give a step by step photoshop tutorial as such, rather a general overview of the process, though in the future I may give more in depth tutorials if there is enough interest.

playing girl 2.jpg

dial-up warning – the rest is rather long and image heavy…
Read the rest of this entry »

Act 2

January 8, 2008

For my second act I wanted to make an icon with which to represent myself within the world of blogging. I wanted it to be a photographic representation of myself, but I am also acutely aware of the fact that it is a representation, it is an aspect of myself that I choose to put forth. I came up with the idea of dolls and dress-ups after catching a glimpse of the Barenaked Ladies video, One Week, on a screen at the gym last week (link to the video on you tube). The image of the woman as a wind up doll at the start appealed to me. Although I am not so keen on the idea of woman as a play thing, as a doll, I am quite keen on the idea of both image and femininity as constructs and those constructs as playthings for the individual embodying them.

sometimes.gif

I used the metaphor of a tea party to reinforce the narrative of construct, and the progression of the images – playing, to drinking from a cup that is make-believe-full, to the realisation the the cup is actually empty – to comment on the way that some forms of femininity are seen as empowering (for example the kind of femininity popular in ‘raunch culture’), yet in actuality the power they impart is only make-believe. While I fully acknowledge that there can be awesome power in being a woman, real power does not come from red lipstick and a push-up bra. Still, sometimes I like to play girl.

Act One

January 1, 2008

We have lift off!

As promised I will spend this year creating bits and pieces of cyberfeminist art. Well, cyberfeminist thingies anyway, some of it you will recognize as art, other bits, like todays work, are… something else. Whether is be art with a capital A or some other kind of thingy, each week for the next 52 weeks I will offer on this site some kind of cyberfeminist live-web interaction. 52 acts of cyberfeminism.

I have decided to start simple and to add a bit of clarity with my first act. When I tell people what it is I am doing I am usually asked ‘what is cyberfeminism?’ so here is my answer. For something a bit different, rather than write you an essay, I have answered the question in power point slide show format and uploaded it to SlideShare, a free online presentation sharing site.

You can view the presentation online, or download it from the site here. I have assigned it a creative commons attribution/non-commercial license, so if you have a non-commercial use for it and you would like to download it be my guest.