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Author Topic: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".  (Read 20504 times)

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violinp

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2016, 11:49:08 AM »
...
Yep. I am not excusing that teen at all-she was clearly rude- but I also bet the teen does rude things to the disabled, the disfigured and anyone she thinks is ugly.


I don't think anyone can say with certainty that the teenaged girl was 'clearly rude' either!  My son sometimes slaps his body and it has nothing to do with the people around him, merely one of the ways his disability manifests itself. 

I don't know what 'art' is, if this is it.

Heck, I'm not disabled, and I smack my (large) gut to make it sound like a drum. People in general, don't live their lives at people.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


Onyx_TKD

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2016, 03:13:23 PM »
Yes and by her own testimony many of the assumptions are hers.

For what it's worth I think therapy instead of blasting strangers' face online and in books decrying them as fat-shamers with no proof would be a better option for her.

It's an art project, not an indictment. It's not about them. No "proof" necessary. It's testimony about her own experiences. Perhaps this work is therapeutic for her. It registers to me an empowering act.

You seem to me to be saying that taking and publishing these photos of strangers, without their knowledge or consent, is perfectly ok because it's her "art" and because it is "not about them." I.e., that she does not (etiquettely/morally) need their consent to make them part of her art or to use their images in her artistic narrative of her experiences. Not even if the role she gives them in her narrative is a negative one. Is that correct? If that is not a correct representation of your position, could you please clarify?

Now, hypothetically,  what if another artist used the same setup with a different target narrative? Say an artist wanted to start a "conversation" about overeating contributing to obesity, so they set up their camera in a place where they'd get photos of people eating, perhaps even offering samples of food (analogous to this artist deliberately setting up scenarios where she thinks people will stare), combs the results for photos with overweight and/or obese people eating, and publishes them in a collection with a framing narrative about overeating, along with a disclaimer that the artist doesn't know the circumstances of the specific individuals portrayed and why they are overweight. Would that be ok? Would you consider it unreasonable for others, even those who did not appear in the photos themselves, to object and say this wasn't right or appropriate? It would basically be a more extreme and more permanent example of the staring that this artist is taking her supposedly empowering stand against...yet it's based on what she herself is doing to others.

Kiwipinball

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2016, 07:21:11 PM »
Yes and by her own testimony many of the assumptions are hers.

For what it's worth I think therapy instead of blasting strangers' face online and in books decrying them as fat-shamers with no proof would be a better option for her.

It's an art project, not an indictment. It's not about them. No "proof" necessary. It's testimony about her own experiences. Perhaps this work is therapeutic for her. It registers to me an empowering act.

You seem to me to be saying that taking and publishing these photos of strangers, without their knowledge or consent, is perfectly ok because it's her "art" and because it is "not about them." I.e., that she does not (etiquettely/morally) need their consent to make them part of her art or to use their images in her artistic narrative of her experiences. Not even if the role she gives them in her narrative is a negative one. Is that correct? If that is not a correct representation of your position, could you please clarify?


Yeah, this is my problem. In the later article someone published (more detailed interview) she is more nuanced in her views and described that at least some pictures were triggered by something in particular (still can't be 100% sure of what people are doing but it's at least more evidence than a random expression on someone's face). But the problem is a lot of the public is not that nuanced. That's not her fault, but it's not unexpected. If I were one of the other people photographed, I would feel attacked. I am not one of the people photographed, so I'm not particularly angry about what she did, but it makes me uncomfortable. I realized that blurring out faces would render this whole thing moot, but that's my preferred way of displaying strangers. If she had wanted to focus on body language more than facial expressions and blurred the faces I may or may not agree with her conclusions (interpreting a situation from a split second frozen in time can still be difficult) but it wouldn't make me uncomfortable on behalf of the others in the photographs.

EllenS

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2016, 10:20:23 PM »
Having read some of the other articles about this artist, here's what I find interesting:

She (and the journalists) refer to herself as the artist, and the actual photographer as her "assistant." I didn't find a name or any sort of credit for the photographer in the pieces I read. So her art is not photography. It's a type of conceptual or performance piece, which is mostly based in her writing to give it meaning and make her point. For example, I'd never have noticed the teenage girl in the series "Gelato" without the story that accompanied it.

Most artists I know would consider this work a collaboration between a photographer (which is an art form of its own), and a writer. And yet, the person responsible for composing and producing the images is completely erased, and Ms. Morris-Caliefero claims the images as her own.

I wonder why the "assistant" agreed to forgo any credit? I actually find this much more interesting than the quotes or statements by the artist about being looked at, feeling self-conscious, reflecting the gaze, etc.

These images are actually the work of someone who's been rendered invisible, nameless, and voiceless.

ETA: I do ghostwriting for money, so I certainly don't think transfer of authorship is inappropriate if fairly agreed to. It's just a dimension I find intriguing - the unspoken and unseen, providing work that is all about appearance and exposition.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 10:54:55 PM by EllenS »

MariaE

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2016, 01:22:29 AM »
Yes and by her own testimony many of the assumptions are hers.

For what it's worth I think therapy instead of blasting strangers' face online and in books decrying them as fat-shamers with no proof would be a better option for her.

It's an art project, not an indictment. It's not about them. No "proof" necessary. It's testimony about her own experiences. Perhaps this work is therapeutic for her. It registers to me an empowering act.
Empowering? That I cannot agree with. It registers more to me like an artistic temper tantrum.
 
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Last_Dance

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2016, 03:47:00 AM »
I agree the "artist" is the one making assumptions.

Also, beside the obvious complaint that the people photographed may have been sad/angry on their own merit/just have RBF, consider this: they were caught mid-movement. Have you ever suddenly paused a movie? When the freeze-frame kicks in, the actors end up with some very strange expressions that have nothing to do with what was actually going on.
It happened to me with Star Trek: Into Darkness, during Khan's speech in the brig: he looked like he was about to sneeze.

Or, remember the whole "Obama was caught looking at a girl's back side" picture? I remember the video clearly showed he was just turning around, but the picture "froze time" at the right moment to lead to misinterpretations
We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

ladyknight1

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #66 on: May 09, 2016, 07:30:15 AM »
Art rarely conforms to the rules of etiquette, morality, or even legality. I think the views of this forum and the thread topic are worlds apart, literally.

Found some nice quotes on what art is: https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/06/22/what-is-art/ http://www.iep.utm.edu/art-eth/

ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

Psychopoesie

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #67 on: May 09, 2016, 08:52:07 AM »
Art rarely conforms to the rules of etiquette, morality, or even legality. I think the views of this forum and the thread topic are worlds apart, literally.

Found some nice quotes on what art is: https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/06/22/what-is-art/ http://www.iep.utm.edu/art-eth/

Bookmarking those to read later. Thanks.

leafeater

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #68 on: May 09, 2016, 08:54:06 AM »
Overweight people do have a different set of challenges in life, and that's just facts.

However, it's not fair to ascribe known societal problems to specific individuals and publicly shame them for it.

Put more simply, a lot of people probably do pass judgment on this woman for being fat, but she has no way of knowing which people they are, and this isn't helping.

rose red

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #69 on: May 09, 2016, 09:07:25 AM »
This weekend at a store, I saw a young person with a noticeable growth on the side of their face, but in no way was I disgusted. But with my RBF (man, I hate getting older and developing a droopy face), I would be horrified to have my picture taken at that exact moment and splashed over books and the web. Even with a disclaimer saying "Although I don't really know what she's thinking," do you really think bad thoughts about me haven't already be planted in people's heads?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 09:09:07 AM by rose red »

gellchom

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #70 on: May 09, 2016, 09:16:45 AM »
This is a very interesting conversation!  Very thought-provoking, thoughtful comments.  Thank you, everyone.

So at least in that sense this is indeed "art" -- I mean, it's stimulating response, controversy, discussion, and questions.  Maybe not the ones she intended, but still.

Goosey

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #71 on: May 09, 2016, 09:31:53 AM »
I've heard about a woman doing this with men who cat-call her.

She stops, takes their picture, and captions it with what they said.

The difference to me is that she's doing this to people who have done an action.

So, if the artist in this case was taking pictures of those who said something or did something to her, purposefully, to make fun of her weight, I could see her message more clearly. However, because her artistry relies a lot on assumptions that don't seem to pan out (that young girl in the bikini, for instance, seems to be more squinting in the sunlight than pulling a face at the artist), it loses its message.

Zizi-K

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #72 on: May 09, 2016, 09:33:19 AM »
Having read some of the other articles about this artist, here's what I find interesting:

She (and the journalists) refer to herself as the artist, and the actual photographer as her "assistant." I didn't find a name or any sort of credit for the photographer in the pieces I read. So her art is not photography. It's a type of conceptual or performance piece, which is mostly based in her writing to give it meaning and make her point. For example, I'd never have noticed the teenage girl in the series "Gelato" without the story that accompanied it.

Most artists I know would consider this work a collaboration between a photographer (which is an art form of its own), and a writer. And yet, the person responsible for composing and producing the images is completely erased, and Ms. Morris-Caliefero claims the images as her own.

I wonder why the "assistant" agreed to forgo any credit? I actually find this much more interesting than the quotes or statements by the artist about being looked at, feeling self-conscious, reflecting the gaze, etc.

These images are actually the work of someone who's been rendered invisible, nameless, and voiceless.

ETA: I do ghostwriting for money, so I certainly don't think transfer of authorship is inappropriate if fairly agreed to. It's just a dimension I find intriguing - the unspoken and unseen, providing work that is all about appearance and exposition.

It is a common misconception that everything an artist does must come from his or her own hand. That is, in fact, not the way that art has been produced for most of its history. Michelangelo did not, in fact, paint the entire Sistine chapel by himself, he worked with a team of assistants. Sculptors throughout history were people that made maquettes, or miniature sculptures, detailing their design, and then these were reproduced at life size by bronze workmen or stone carvers. There's the more recent conceptual art movement in which artists wrote directions to be carried out in various venues by other people. The fact that the artist works with an assistant poses no difficulty in her claim to authorship of these images. 

Thipu1

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #73 on: May 09, 2016, 10:00:46 AM »
A point could be made that Ms. Morris-Caliefero is a performance artist.  Her performance is simply being seen in public places and the photographs are documentation of the performance.   

If that's the case, we're all 'performance artists' when we go to the bank, the beach or the dry cleaner.  I'm sure we've all gotten odd looks from time to time but that's just life.  It isn't art just because the 'artist' says it is. 

Still, we hear that it is.  Having worked with artists and in an art museum for over 20 years, I've learned that the idea of art often exists only in the mind of the artist.  I'm quite sure that's the case here.

Zizi-K

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2016, 12:43:38 PM »
A point could be made that Ms. Morris-Caliefero is a performance artist.  Her performance is simply being seen in public places and the photographs are documentation of the performance.   

If that's the case, we're all 'performance artists' when we go to the bank, the beach or the dry cleaner.  I'm sure we've all gotten odd looks from time to time but that's just life.  It isn't art just because the 'artist' says it is. 

Still, we hear that it is.  Having worked with artists and in an art museum for over 20 years, I've learned that the idea of art often exists only in the mind of the artist.  I'm quite sure that's the case here.

And the fact that she's a trained artist (MFA), she teaches art, and is the Assistant Dean at the art school. Oh, and her photographs are shown and sold in art galleries. It is dismissive in the extreme to suggest that someone who circulates in the art world as much as this person does is "just an artist in her mind." Would we stay that about people in HR, engineers, or fast food workers just because we don't like what they do?? It is not a high bar to assert that something is art. It may not be good art, relevant art, beautiful art, etc, but it is certainly art. You may consider her work to be a kind of performance art, but she identifies as a photographer and not as a performance artist.


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