Archive for December, 2006

More about alter-ego images in the media …

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

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.

Peter Welz

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

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)

Prediction market for corruption

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

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

The Revigators

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

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.

An outside of the dysmorphic body

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

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.

<object classid=’clsid:02BF25D5-8C17-4B23-BC80-D3488ABDDC6B’ width=”320″
height=”255″ codebase=’’>

<embed src=”” width=”320″ height=”255″ autoplay=”false”
controller=”true” loop=”true” pluginspage=’’>


Material: plaster
Video: Raw data with no editing

Effects of a Snoezelen on self-injury and aggression

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Attribution: Photo of a snoezelroom at Het Balanske, Halensebaan 2, 3390 Tielt-Winge, Belgium by Michaël RY Laurent, Belgium.

Snoezelen or controlled multisensory stimulation is used for people with (severe) mental disabilities, and involves exposing them to a soothing and stimulating environment, the “snoezelen room”. These rooms are specially designed to deliver stimuli to various senses, using lighting effects, color, sounds, music, scents, etc. The combination of different materials on a wall may be explored using tactile senses, and the floor may be adjusted to stimulate the sense of balance.
Originally developed in the Netherlands in the 1970s, snoezelen rooms have been established in institutions all over the world (like in Germany, where more than 1200 exist).
Snoezelen might be beneficial to people with autism and other developmental disabilities, dementia, and brain injury. However, research on these matters is scarce, with variable study designs.[1] [2]
[1]Chung JCC, Lai CKY. Snoezelen for dementia. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2002, Issue 4. Art.
[2]Lancioni GE, Cuvo AJ, O’Reilly MF. Snoezelen: an overview of research with people with developmental disabilities and dementia. Disabil Rehabil. 2002; 24: 175-84.

by Wikipedia

Effects of Snoezelen room, Activities of Daily Living skills training, and Vocational skills training on aggression and self-injury by adults with mental retardation and mental illness. Res Dev Disabil. 2004 May-Jun;25(3):285-93. By Singh NN,
Lancioni GE, Winton AS, Molina EJ, Sage M, Brown S, Groeneweg J.

Abstract Multi-sensory stimulation provided in a Snoezelen room is being used increasingly for individuals with mental retardation and mental illness to facilitate relaxation, provide enjoyment, and inhibit behavioral challenges. We observed aggressive and self-injurious behavior in three groups of 15 individuals with severe or profound mental retardation and mental illness before, during, and after being in a Snoezelen room. All participants were receiving psychotropic medication for their mental illness and function-derived behavioral interventions for aggression, self-injury, or both. Using a repeated measures counterbalanced design, each group of participants was rotated through three experimental conditions: Activities of Daily Living (ADL) skills training, Snoezelen, and Vocational skills training. All other treatment and training activities specified in each individual’s person-centered plan were continued during the 10-week observational period. Both aggression and self-injury were lowest when the individuals were in a Snoezelen room, followed by Vocational skills training and ADL skills training. The levels in the Snoezelen room were significantly lower than in both the other conditions for aggression but only in ADL skills training for self-injury. The difference in levels before and after Snoezelen were statistically significant with self-injury but not with aggression. The order of conditions showed no significant effect on either behavior. Snoezelen may provide an effective context for reducing the occurrence of self-injury and aggression.
PMID: 15134793 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]