September 1, 2008
this post may look a little familiar to those of you who follow my research blog, as I recently posted it there by mistake! But here it is now, returned to its rightful place on 52 acts.
A few weeks ago Sabbitha commented on my LiveJournal asking if I would like to contribute to the Totem, Dolls With Souls, exhibition* in September–which excited me greatly. Following on from Act 20’s exploration in to the common yet curious tradition of taking portraits (and often self-portraits) of women’s bodies as discrete disembodied pieces–effectively dismembering them with the camera lens–I chose to explore this phenomenon further , making 3D journal icon representations using 100x100mm boxes (representing the standard 100×100 pixels of blog/journal icons) and found dolls. I have started with a series of 4 (though I have constructed several more boxes should I choose to continue the theme). Each icon features a different body part, presented in a way that is in keeping with the feel of many LJ user icons–the half-face in particular is a classic icon trope.
I have used different sized dolls for each of the icons to create the illusion of different camera distances and angles, but have used the same fabrics as clothing where each of the dolls might be expected to connect, in order to add constancy and imply that the icons are all from the same ‘photo shoot’.
In order to place the superfluous body parts out of the frame I had to literally (rather than just figuratively) cut them off–perhaps I have been watching too much Dexter, but this felt surprisingly ‘wrong’ to me. In any case it really bought home to me what we do to ourselves with a camera each time we take one of these body part images.
Scary mutilation aside, this project was a lot of fun, including the creation of the miniature clothing and the tiny crochet shawl and hat pieces.
Now that I have had some distance from the process I am finding it fascinating that the finished photographic images look less like the mutilated body parts I was experiencing them as, and have begun to look to me more like images where the rest of the figure is somewhere out of frame.
*sadly the exhibition registration closed while I wasn’t looking, so my dolls won’t be going to Melbourne, but hey, they are making an interesting talking point on my mantle piece at home :)