Friday, February 7, 2014

your turn #4

Csilla Kley√°nzki

we have many themes:

designing romanticism,
koenig's steam press,
political satire,
daguerreotype,
photography as portrait of the famous (nadar),
photography as sience of movement (e. muybridge),
photography as art (pictorialism) 
erotica,
circus' "freaks,"
egyptian serifs,
photography as war reportage,
almanacs,
cards,

go ahead, see you in two weeks!
 

38 comments:

Sara Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara Ryan said...

When we look at portrait photography from the late 1800s today, we see art, yet when these photos were taken, they were taken for identification purposes, for the famous characters that wanted to document their likeness. Today, we see the artistic quality in the personality of these portraits and in the stark and bleak quality of the human condition. Nadar took many portraits of various famous people of his time, and though the photos are black and white, they evoke a regal sense and the detail of the photographs is intricate and somehow communicates the souls of the people being photograph. What I found interesting is that we appreciate these portraits for their simplicity and for their unapologetic realness - almost void of whimsy and imagination, what usually are characteristics of "art", yet now, our generation focuses on redesigning the body and escaping from all realness and staunch authenticity. Our generation is adorned with tattoos, piercings and makeup, and our superficial definition of photography consists of selfies, instagram filters and photoshop. What we appreciate about the portraiture of Nadar is exactly what is not appreciated in our "portraits" today. Perhaps it would be worth it to take a moment to appreciate and perhaps replicate the honesty and humble qualities of 19th century portraiture.

sarbani.ghosh said...

The parallels between Romanticism and punk are very eye-opening, and it definitely isn’t something I considered before. I admired the way both movements were designed as responses to increasing changes in societal structure and technology. Romanticism was the response to the massive industrialization of Europe, and punk was the response to the culture of the 60s, to the nuclear arms race, to the technological advances and convictions of the mid twentieth century. And both emphasized a lot of the same movements, but what I find interesting is the contrast between constructive and destructive. Punk practices were often self-destructive and involved very addictive drugs, and while I’m not saying that Romantics probably took drugs (although opium was discussed a lot) it definitely isn’t what you first associate with Romanticism. When Romanticism emphasized an overflowing of feelings, punk stressed the same but with more destructive forms of expression and more anger. Also the nationalism evident in Romanticism was rejected in the punk movement. And if history is cyclical, then could we classify “New Age” as the new Transcendentalism?

Sarbani Ghosh

AK said...

I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to the movie “Her”, which I saw a couple of days ago. While there are so many things to say about this well-designed movie, I chose to talk about something that I thought was relevant to this class: design in technology. I specifically am talking about the device Theodore Twombly used to communicate with Samantha.

Even though the entire movie was depicting a futuristic world, the actual device Mr. Twombly uses was a reflection of the past. Instead of designing the 2050 version of the iPhone, the device in Her was something simple, elegant, and, most importantly, believable. The device embraces a time when people had designed beautiful little address books, cigarette cases, and lighters: tactile things you could carry around in your hand. Despite being an artifact from the future, Twombly’s gadget didn’t need to scream its sophistication.

The movie’s production designer KK Barrett summarized my thoughts best in one sentence: “In a way, my job was to undesign the design (of the future).” I believe if the general public adopted this mentality and abandoned the hunger for the “new look/feel”, we wouldn’t be in a constant nostalgic mood thinking about the past, because technology would not feel like technology anymore.

Abdulgader S. Naseer

Alberto Monreal said...

What’s a freak? Do “freaks” actually exist? Is it a hairy baby that resembles an ape, or is it a man so thin that he’s been dubbed “the skeleton dude?” Human curiosity is inherently piqued when faced with any sort of abnormality in design. When we fail to understand the cause of such deviations form the norm, the tendency exists to label the individuals as “freaks of nature.” Showman P.T. Barnum, amongst many others, played on human psychology and used these atypical characteristics spawned from genetic abnormalities to his advantage. The “Shakespeare of Advertising” appealed to the public through the art of bizarreness and the unknown. For over a century, “Circus freaks” roamed Europe and the United States as sideshow exhibitions for crowds to gawk at. Through design, advertisement, and ingenuity, he would hype up a “freak”—amassing throngs of people to come and witness for themselves how such beings could possibly exist. Although undoubtedly exploited, these “freaks” quickly gained national and international fame. They transformed natural genetic disadvantages into lucrative means by which to survive.

Alberto Monreal

Kari Hecker said...

Photography is always something that has interested me, mostly because it's something that is only manipulable to a certain degree. A lens is supposed to show the truth, unlike a picture which is completely created. The earliest photographs stuck to this idea, such as Muybridge's horse galloping which was a scientific project of sorts. The earliest portraits of the famous were also supposed to represent the truth. Any manipulation needed to occur in the real-world, i.e. makeup or shading. Perhaps the most true examples of genuine photography involve subjects of war. There is no desire to make things beautiful, so there is no desire to manipulate them to look good. In this respect, war photography could be the greatest example of true documentation.

Throughout time photographs themselves have become more and more manipulated. For example, Kline's "Jumping into the Void" is one of the earliest manipulation of photographs. With the increase of technology, photographs are even easier to manipulate with Photoshop. Anyone is able to buy a camera now, take a picture, make it look good in Photoshop, and act like a photographer. I think mass production has hurt the profession a little.

Kari Hecker

Anonymous said...

I think that the more effort, time, and exposures it takes to make a photograph give it more originality and value. Similar to an igneous rock compared to a metamorphic rock, the photographic process of Daguerrotype are similar to the long years of heat and pressure it takes to make an amethyst or diamond. I still shoot color film all the time and frequently triple or double exposure the slides so it will almost collage the two scenes into one final image. This is a technique preferable to photoshop with a digital photograph because photoshop will usually choose a dominant layer- while double exposures leave it up to light. I enjoy the large format polaroid photography (and paintings) of Chuck Close.
In the same way as font is better handcrafted I appreciate a daguerrotype both historically and artistically.

Gabriel Aiello

Gabriel Aiello

Milena Mihovilovic said...

It's interesting to wonder if, unfortunate as their conditions were, freaks and oddities of the circus were somewhat empowered by their employment. Despite the stares and apparent disgust, there were certainly always patrons who looked upon them with honest curiosity rather than explicit judgment. Perhaps these "freaks" found some comfort in finally gaining context. As ambassadors of their conditions, whether willfully or not, they would have had a part in desensitizing the public to their freakish factors. However, this may not have always been the case. If their conditions were novel to the audience, a first exposure does not always result in desensitization. Then again, were an audience member further presented with such a phenotype, polydactyly for example , previous exposure might reduce the shock. I believe sideshow 'freaks' played an important role in educating the public, their previous historical seclusion having occluded their presence in society. In finding some sort of purpose, performers may have gained context to their condition and perhaps lessened their burden.

Anonymous said...

The debate of truth and photography is as old as the medium itself. Does a photograph demonstrate truth? Reality? Is a photograph evidence of fact? Should photography be used to portray the world naturalistically? With the advent of the fixed photographic image, art's quest to perfectly duplicate reality lessened. But then the photograph was not considered high art- because it so perfectly (though I would argue, deceptively) reproduced reality? So Stieglitz, Steichen, Cameron and the rest of the pictorialists began to favor the painterly capabilities of photography in hopes of solidifying the legitimacy of the medium. Very early composite imaging specialist Oscar Gustav Rejlander is often called the "father of art photography", indicating an inclination to consider art as counter to reality, or that a medium can only contribute to fine art if it can keep up with the acrobatics of the imagination. With Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and group f/64 the medium's stylistic preference would turn on its head. It seems as though the pendulum constantly swings between the two attitudes towards photography, keeping this old debate alive even as, more and more, we struggle and push against the boundaries of the photographic image.

Carolyn Kay Chema

Jena Thomas said...

I have always thought of the invention of photography as a sort of release for art. No longer were artists bogged down with the burden of replication. However, I often wonder about what was sacrificed when we gave up painting as a primary means of keeping record. It was Delacroix who said about the Daguerreotype “Because in spite of its astonishing reality, in certain aspects it is still only a reflection of the real…in some ways false just because it is so exact” Delacroix goes on to describe the literal perspective provided by the daguerreotype as being unfortunate because we are missing out on a truth provided by the artist. He believed that our eye corrects without our being conscience of it, and that the artist subconsciously edits an image in order to capture the significance of a moment. Although we gained unabashedly accurate images as records of history, I can’t help but wonder if we lost a sense of unique perspective provided by the living artist who captured that essence of the time.
Jena Thomas

Anonymous said...

The topic of photography as a way of documentation as discussed in class led me to think about my favorite photograph, Migrant Mother. This image was taken by the photographer Dorothea Lange who was hired, along with others, by the Farm Security Administration to go to the Dust Bowl and document what was happening there during The Great Depression. This was a form of propaganda so people could get a sense of resilience and pride in the face of adversity; however, it resulted in a beautiful image that depicted a time in history. At the time the photograph was purely for a political purpose, like many photographs documenting historical events, but today it is a piece of art and design. It is very interesting how the children leaning on either side of their mother are looking away as to create an altar for her concerned face. The ever so popular image of Madonna and child can also be interpreted from this photograph.

Natalia Colombo

Brooke Marram said...

A "freak" at first is something you make up in your mind. As humans we know the possibility of error during our months in the womb which then allows us to understand that "freaks" exist. Before printing presses and cirus's, the characteristics of a freak was left up to the imagination. Unfortunatly, figures such as PT Barnum exploited the lives of freaks and changed the notion from imagination to reality. When images of these freaks are printed and distributed to those who have only imagined their own "freak", labels and judgement come to be and stick. Now that these "freaks" are seen as weak, strange, and vuleranble they are used as entertainment and their job title becomes "freak". This series of events makes me question the following: Is what we think, perceive, and imagine real? Or is something real because someone told us or published it?

-Brooke Marram

Marina Rutenberg said...

I found the war photos particularly striking, not only because of their graphic nature, but also because of how peaceful and tranquil they looked. What really made me think was how tame and almost implicit war photography is today, compared to these completely explicit and gruesome images.

Then I realized that this kind of photography is now censored by the media. Today, we have no idea what is going on overseas. It is almost as if a curtain has been draped over the whole middle east, with specific and calculated reports being aired every so often on the major news outlets. This kind of photography, although deeply disturbing, to me symbolizes an era in which the government could not hide things from the people. Photographers exposed tragic images, and people were faced with death and the atrocities of war in their most raw/real form.

I feel that today, we only see cold statistics and hear the occasional story from a soldier who is brave enough to tell it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that pictures of dead soldiers should be posted on the front page of every newspaper. But I feel that shocking pictures like these make people think about something that would otherwise be “out-of sight, out of mind”. The anonymity of the whole thing also makes them more universal, as they could be taken by anyone, of anyone, anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Muybridge’s idea of photography in motion was an astonishing discovery. His images were known as “groundbreaking images.” Knowing that through a form of art a scientific problem was answered makes his invention even better. He solved a question that people would have doubts on at the time. I think Muybridge is an artist to admire because he created a new form of art and applied it to science. He answered the problem of how a horse trots with a single shot. He used negatives to demonstrate how a horse really gallops and he also used wood cuts. The importance of the wood cuts not only served as a way to print but they also helped if the negatives were to get lost because they could still be seen in the wood cuts. He was a person who wanted photography to move forward and become a well-known subject. He also improved his camera by adding a faster shutter speed and faster film emulsions.

-Yesenia

Yeping Cao said...

I found very interesting about Daguerreotype is that it was found by accident. Photography is an important part of life because we need it everywhere. But how can we know that the origin of photograph is the broken thermometer. Hundreds of years ago, Daguerre found mercury can take photos which may need around half an hour to take one. Even the models need holders. And in contemporary society, taking pictures are so easy that whoever can take one, in seconds.
Although the Daguerreotype did not get popular at that time, since the pictures are not clear, it was still the foundation of photography. It gave the modern photography technique a very good heading. Can we imagine if Daguerre did not find the Daguerrotype, and we still do no have cameras, how will be our lives?

Yeping Cao

Anonymous said...

The invention of photography not only created a new form of art, it also changed the way history is recorded. Instead of idealized paintings that rarely portrayed the events as they really were, the photographs depicted the true scenes. Reporters with cameras captured the real devastation of war for the first time during the American Civil War, the images that these reporters took were very different from the glorified representations of war of the paintings of the romanticism era. The photographs captured the scenes of everyday life of those years, with all the small details that would have been missed by painters. The photographs also captured the true images of all the famous people of the era, which show how they looked like in real life, not on idealized portraits. As the camera technology developed it became accessible to more people, as a result more images were taken showing the everyday life and other events that occurred in that period.
Anton Zaitsev

Pimlada said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pimlada said...

The daguerreotype process was the first widely available method of obtaining permanent images with a camera. It gave birth to photography, which is why it should be remembered as a world altering process. The most amazing thing was that the inventor, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, was not a scientist but a jack of all trades. He had in the past worked as a decorator, printmaker, painter, mirror manufacturer and designer. Later on he was mostly known as the owner of the Diorama, a popular Parisian theater featuring moving paintings and lighting effects. It took over 15 years of experimenting for Daguerre to perfect the process. The process involves a polished silver-plated sheet of copper, treated with iodine vapors, exposed in a large box camera, developed in mercury fumes, and or fixed in place sodium thiosulphate. Other processes that were more efficient soon replaced this process. Daguerreotype while primitive was the first step that created the art of photography.

- Pimlada Kongkham

Leah Brown said...


After seeing the design sensibilities of the Romantics reinterpreted through the mentality and aesthetic of the Punk movement of the 1980s, I began thinking about how relevant this still is for today's cutting edge designers who are invoking Romantic notions of solitude, nature and death. In this kind of technoromanticism, artists and designers are actually looking back to the craft values of the Romantics, appealing to idyllic narratives of wholeness, promoting the transcendental power of the imagination, and demanding that technologies inspire and resonate at a deep, emotional level. In video games, we find the vast, picturesque realms of the archetypal Romantic hero. The Romanticized sadness of death is celebrated through the digital afterlife, with commemorative communities who interact through commentary fields and light digital candles for the deceased. Architectural spaces attempt to recreate the sublime experience with a return to natural form, but utilizing algorithmic input it can be rendered at the microscopic level, in a visual combination of the organic and digital. What we see is how this kind of progress could both create a return to nature and aesthetically moving experiences, essentially serving the same purpose as Romantic art.

Leah Brown

olhovich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

As I look at the evolution of art throughout the ages, especially after the Renaissance where beauty and the embodiment of perfection was key, I am intrigued by how art has come to reflect an artist’s struggle to reconcile his or her dissatisfaction with reality and the innate obligation to render it as it is. Art will step away from conventional perceptions and then revert back. Pictorialism seems to be a way of achieving common ground and embellishing reality somewhat through medium and angles. As noted by possibly anyone who has ever captured a moment using Instragram, reality in a 2D screen after meticulous selection of filters, seems much more appealing than reality as it is. Seriously, a picture of a roll of toilet paper captured in the right angle could be interpreted as something grand. As I look at Clarence White’s “The Watcher,” I wonder if that moment was as magical as it appears. Were the skies grey, was she paralyzed by some deep thought or just staring at a squirrel that ran up the tree? Or Dubreil’s “L’Opera.” It looks so familiar and yet so unreal. Photography is able to capture and focus on the subtle details of a moment and add a mood through a medium. It opens the doors to many possibilities and realities while reality quickly bolts them shut.

Evelyn Pereda

olhovich said...

Recently I read "Julia Pastrana", a fun novel by Sandy Olson and Julian Fenech. The book is about Julia Pastrana's life and her relationship with her manager. This extraordinary girl from the mid-19th century was a native of Sinaloa Mexico, who suffered from hypertrichosis (disease in which the body is completely covered with hair) and had a nose and irregular teeth, which gave her a simian appearance. Nicknamed in her time "The Ugliest Woman in the World" Pastrana spent the latter part of her life exhibited in a cage, touring with freak circuses in the United States and Europe. However, beyond the monster that everyone saw, Pastrana was an educated woman who spoke three languages (French, Spanish and English) had a mezzo-soprano voice, loved reading, danced and played the piano. Pastrana died at age 26 giving birth to a son who was born with the same condition and would die three days later. They both were mummified and sold to museums of curiosities. Her remains were kept in Norway until February 2013 when they were returned to Mexico.

Gerardo Olhovich

Paulina Pecic said...

One thing I'm noticing as we continue to study design, is that design itself is continuing to become more personalized. It seems as if humans are becoming more and more fascinated with the self. This is why, I think, there is an increased interested in portrait photography or even in "freaks" at the circus. I think the reason people are so amazed by "freaks" is because they begin to compare these people to themselves. And in portrait photography, we have the ability to capture the self in a way that no other previous form of art allowed. We can actually see ourselves in reality, as opposed to depending on the way an artist's brushstroke conveys our persona. I think this is also true of the use of cards. I have never heard of so many different personal cards before, but clearly they represent different aspects of ourselves that we want to make accessible to others. And the design of a calling card, for example, has something to say to another person about who we are. The design itself carries an implication of the kind of person we are, accompanied by the concrete identification of our actual name. It's fascinating really. It seems that people are become obsessed with themselves--knowing our own selves, sharing ourselves, and empathizing with others.

Paulina Pecic

V.Sheehan said...

After our discussion on "freaks" in class and my first introduction to the vampire lady I found myself intrigued by the topic. I respect the way in which you define "freak" taking the word out of its negative context and placing it in a appreciative or more respected one. It is interesting to think that one is only categorized negatively as a freak because we are taught from a young age to conform to societal norms.

On a more ignorant note I googled the term freak and did a little digging to find what some people consider to be "freaks". Beneath is a link to my favorite find, the cat man.

http://metro.co.uk/2008/09/02/man-turned-cat-is-worlds-most-modified-man-457169/


Virginia Sheehan

Carlos Mella said...

I found myself thinking about the introduction of photography and what it meant for society. From a purely aesthetic point of view it was a major game changer, I especially loved the photographers who used their photos to create paintings almost, such as Steiche and Dubreil. But when you consider it from a historical point of view that ability to document events and people's likenesses completely changed how history was documented. Look for example to W.S. Hartshorn's daguerrotype of Edgar Allan Poe, where anywhere else in type we would have remembered this man only by his work we now have a lively image of the man. Like Triff said in class, a couple of decades earlier and we could've seen Napoleon, this completely changed the way records were kept and history is remembered.

Katherine Daniels said...

I was particularly intrigued by the "freaks" of the 19th century. When someone sees something that is out of the ordinary or bizarre, we automatically categorize them as a "freak". But what really is a freak, or what makes someone or something a freak? I thought the 19th century freaks were interesting because they were so different and bizarre and seemed to defy nature. Because their design is different and bizarre to others, they are automatically considered to be freaks. It made me think- just because someone is different, why are they considered a "freak"? Since we are all different, could we all be labeled as freaks? I also thought the photos of the human vampire were very interesting. They were so freaky and almost disturbing, yet I couldn't look away. But she purposely changed her body to look like that and is a design process. Her tattoos, piercings, teeth, eyes, hair- Her whole body- contributes to her design. These "freaks" all just have unique designs that seem to defy what is natural and "normal".
Katherine Daniels

Katherine Daniels said...

I was particularly intrigued by the "freaks" of the 19th century. When someone sees something that is out of the ordinary or bizarre, we automatically categorize them as a "freak". But what really is a freak, or what makes someone or something a freak? I thought the 19th century freaks were interesting because they were so different and bizarre and seemed to defy nature. Because their design is different and bizarre to others, they are automatically considered to be freaks. It made me think- just because someone is different, why are they considered a "freak"? Since we are all different, could we all be labeled as freaks? I also thought the photos of the human vampire were very interesting. They were so freaky and almost disturbing, yet I couldn't look away. But she purposely changed her body to look like that and is a design process. Her tattoos, piercings, teeth, eyes, hair- Her whole body- contributes to her design. These "freaks" all just have unique designs that seem to defy what is natural and "normal".
Katherine Daniels

Anonymous said...

I was particularly intrigued by the "freaks" of the 19th century. When someone sees something that is out of the ordinary or bizarre, we automatically categorize them as a "freak". But what really is a freak, or what makes someone or something a freak? I thought the 19th century freaks were interesting because they were so different and bizarre and seemed to defy nature. Because their design is different and bizarre to others, they are automatically considered to be freaks. It made me think- just because someone is different, why are they considered a "freak"? Since we are all different, could we all be labeled as freaks? I also thought the photos of the human vampire were very interesting. They were so freaky and almost disturbing, yet I couldn't look away. But she purposely changed her body to look like that and is a design process. Her tattoos, piercings, teeth, eyes, hair- Her whole body- contributes to her design. These "freaks" all just have unique designs that seem to defy what is natural and "normal".
Katherine Daniels

Anonymous said...

Last class had a lot to do with photography and the various elements of life it tried to capture and change, from historical events to erotica. I think the addition of photography as a new form of media was really important in how it allowed us to evolve even further than before. It monumentally changed historical recordings. We went from having portraits of the great and famous (kings, generals, other artists) that were susceptible to the ability and subjectivity of the artist, to now having their very likenesses that could not be intrinsically changed by the artist (position, lighting and background were all important, but still cannot change the person's physical features drastically). I do think that in some ways this takes away from the fancy and imaginative qualities humans had to have to draw their meaning and inspiration from illustrations and portraits, but this is fundamental for events. The Civil War photographs are an example of this. Before wars were depicted with illustrations that often grossly over or under exaggerated battle scenes. But now, with photos, there was no hiding the grizzly truth. This was also true for erotica. Before photos an artist could take an average figure and make her an Aphrodite on paper. With photos the real curves and details unfold leaving less to the imagination. This needn't be good or bad; it's all subjective to the beholder, sort of the same as books vs. Kindles. They have their pros and cons, but they're all further steps in unknown directions (movies and television from photos and who knows what from Kindles).

Danielle Peters

Lizz Evalen said...

Erotica fascinates me to no end. The way the image of sex has been changed throughout history is epic and notable. In the past, sex was not discussed in a public forum. It was a repressed subject. Painters like Reuben and other virtuosos made insane waves when they produced works of art featuring nude women.

Nowadays, it is more than commonplace to talk about sex, sexuality, and taboos in public. The fact that a book like 50 Shades of Gray is so vastly popular highlights our evolution. It was quite literally based on smut fanfiction.

This speaks to design because subliminal messaging has shown us that we can look anywhere and see sex. A phallus here, a vulva there. Even when the author doesn't intend it. In a way, it has made our appreciation of art more dirty and put symbols in our heads that aren't there.

Lizz Evalen said...

Erotica fascinates me to no end. The way the image of sex has been changed throughout history is epic and notable. In the past, sex was not discussed in a public forum. It was a repressed subject. Painters like Reuben and other virtuosos made insane waves when they produced works of art featuring nude women.

Nowadays, it is more than commonplace to talk about sex, sexuality, and taboos in public. The fact that a book like 50 Shades of Gray is so vastly popular highlights our evolution. It was quite literally based on smut fanfiction.

This speaks to design because subliminal messaging has shown us that we can look anywhere and see sex. A phallus here, a vulva there. Even when the author doesn't intend it. In a way, it has made our appreciation of art more dirty and put symbols in our heads that aren't there.

Valery Rocha said...

I think the most intriguing part for me was learning about the "freaks". I think that the way freaks back in the 19th century differ from the ones today but we both still have the same idea as to what to categorize as a "freak". The freaks of the 19th century almost seemed unreal which is why it just made me want to know more about it since I just kept on thinking to myself that it was a joke and those people never existed. As regard to today's freaks, we think that a freak is someone who is weird and different but doesn't necessarily have to be due to physical appearance. It can also be regarded as someone who'd do something that isn't done by many which means that they just don't fit in. Maybe we can all be freaks in some way since after all we're different.

The whole erotica subject was interesting as well because sex was regarded in a more "cautious" way back then. Today sex is something so normal and so out there in your face that you have to go really extreme for you to really feel uncomfortable in a situation where sex is brought up. It really is amazing to see the stages that sex has taken and how it is regarded today.

-Valery R.

Leah Andritsch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leah Andritsch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leah Andritsch said...

The topic of redesigning the body as a work of art caught my interest. I admire how Cristerna shifted from freak to art. The way she has manipulated herself into another “creature” can be viewed as a work of art. Yes, she may look scary and be deemed crazy or a “freak,” but she has the guts to become something fanatic in the midst of society’s standards and conventions. I admire her bravery. On the other hand, Lady Gaga’s political correctness of “freak” has unfortunately become a trend. Rather than it being an adversity she has made it into a pop phenomenon with her following of fan “monsters.” She may seem daring and artistic but I feel like her interpretation of freak is forced and adherent for capital value which makes it inauthentic.

The body is a canvas. We are all artist in the sense that each day we are allowed to redesign our blank canvas with the different clothing and accessories that we chose to wear, even the way we style our hair. There are styles that are more permanent. For example, tattoos which are viewed in most societies but in others culture they have significance and may be highly regarded. People have been manipulating and “redesigning” the body since the beginning of time, I believe it is in our nature to adorn it.

Beauty is subjective and everyone has their right to their own tastes and aesthetics, and though I wouldn’t want to look like Cristerna she has a certain beauty to her. One that is original and fantastic; her guts to live her dream as a “freak” is pretty punk rock!

Leah Andritsch

Anonymous said...

Our discussion surrounding erotica calls into question the state of sexual norms throughout history. And while it may seem that we are on a constantly evolving trajectory in which human sexuality is unmasked behind the layers of deliberate repression, the true nature of the subject is cyclical. It is important to note that our pre-civilized ancestors, lacking many of the markers of society, dealt with sex as an ordinary act of human existence much like any other biological urge. It is only with the development of civilization, in which such acts were deemed inappropriate that erotica was created. Erotica therefore provides a window into the forbidden, transporting the individual into an illusory reality in which the taboo is acceptable. However as the art form proliferates and the content becomes markedly graphic in nature, erotica begins to desensitize us back to our primal beginnings until that too becomes inadequate. The reaction to the outrageous content is then one of restraint in hopes of rekindling the capacity to feel the rush of viewing the forbidden. So while erotica may be designed to test the limits of what is acceptable, the fickle nature of human desire will be what ultimately moves the art form in one direction or the other.

-Sajan Patel

Michelle Lock said...

Erotica and circus “freak” art have the same reputation in today’s world: we aren’t really sure if we should view them because of their unconventional nature but we are still intrigued because of the same reason. I start to think of what people thought of before when modernist art started to appear – like the Bauhaus style. People must have thought of Bauhaus art in the same way as we think of erotica and circus “freak” art.

In addition, the definition of freak is vague. What makes somebody a freak? If somebody was different? However, we are all different and personalized in ways, so we would all be freaks. Maybe freaks are people who deliberately go against the status quo and defy social norms.

Art and graphic design through the ages continues to constantly grow and morph according to society’s tastes. People considered freaks a hundred of years ago might not be considered freaks now or visa versa.

Tova Trellevik said...

Last class we discussed Romanticism. Previously I have studied Romanticism, but I never thought of the movement in context with movements in the twentieth century. Romanticism was a distinct shift from the age of enlightenment in the previous century. It was a movement in reaction against the industrial revolution. It emphasized the awesome power of nature. A visual culture was created. Romanticism, like many other movements, stimulated an onslaught of new images and text. Romanticism can be compared to several movements in the 20th century. People have rebelled instead of against industrialization, against globalization. As the world becomes more global and transportation much faster, movements akin to Romanticism appear, like the punk movement. Both the punk movement and romanticism were anti-establishment and asserted a new way of thinking. It is interesting to see how through new medias similar, yet radically different waves of thought occur.