mercredi 2 octobre 2013

The uncanny barbie

Pictures by Simona Zemaityte, make up artist: Chen Fang

You know my taste and interest  for "mise en abîme". I have always been fascinated by the dress of my barbies, princess one, 80's one, shiny and glittery. I wanted the same for myself, but you can't wear barbie clothes so I decided to make a dress with barbie dresses.

For that I pinned then one by one on a base like butterflies in a frame. It creates a kind of patchwork with play around textures and different materials. I remember going to H&M with my ex-flatmate "  if the fabric  to similar to the dresses of my barbie, I don't trust it". 

Ironing barbie dresses to make them flat -my wardrobe shrank in the wash? 

Feel like a creepy american beauty pageant 

With Simona, a lithuanian video artist and filmmaker we experimented with light and filters inspired by Dark and Rudd Van Empel aesthetic.  I like  her use of over-saturated and harsh light, this dark coldness that you kind find  in  other east) european aesthetic (sorry for generazing) 

We took theses picture on a really hot day of summer, so the make up was smudging. Brenda, the make up artist wanted to re-do it but I liked it a bit dirty, like "something is going wrong on that porcelain face" 

to make this necklace you have to be really meticulous and stick every strass with a pin

as a child I was fascinated by the iridescent colour of mermaid tails 

Barbie has taken heat over the years for being too darned tall, small-waisted and basically unrealistic in her proportions, causing some to worry about the negative impact she might have on girls' body image.

With that in mind, artist Nickolay Lamm of decided to find out what a 'normal-sized' Barbie would look like, so he took the CDC's measurements of an average 19-year-old woman (32-31-33) and created a 3D model of the doll, then photographed it next to a standard Barbie (whose measurements are a somewhat unrealistic 36-18-33).

He contrast is startling. Shorter, wider and fuller-faced, Lamm's 'normal' Barbie is a far cry from the long-limbed, tiny-waisted doll that girls the world over grow up playing with.

Speaking about the project, Lamm said: "If there's even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks as good as an average-sized woman in America, what's stopping Mattel from making one?"

Making a barbie dress with me, y friend Yueer was really surprised because chinese barbie are smaller and bigger. 

My room is like a kid room, with different toys on the shelves, the only difference is...dolls parts are methodically separated into pieces...
Every times people come to my room, is like a kindergarden. Everybody starts playing with the barbie, but with the eyes  of an adult!  Last time, one of my  set-designer friend needed  barbie to create a dolls and puppets atelier, so he borrowed me two boxes of my precious babies! 

the result of one of my friend playing with my barbies...
a friend coming to my house and tiding consciously all my barbies 

Making a barbie jewels is like doing plastic surgery on barbie 

I got inspired by the movie My Little Princess directed by Eva Ionesco inspired by her relationship with her mother, the well-known artistic photographer  Irina Ionesco whose pictures of her young daughter aroused discussions when they were published back in the 1970s.

 Beyond the controversial topic of the movie, I loved the aesthetic of the extravagant/decadant mother embodied by Isabelle Huppert. In this scene, the head piece dolls reflects the ambitious relationship between the mother and the daughter, showing the perverse desire of possession of the mother for her daughter, to makes her "her little doll", strengthening the unhealthy atmosphere of the movie. 

I tried to analyse why Barbie jewels are so disturbing,  why people find it so creepy and fascinating at the same time. I had a kid of "epiphany", it has to deal with the uncanny "inquiétante étrangeté"/ "inquiétante familiarité" in French.  Das Unheimliche,  in German is "the opposite of what is familiar",  a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar.

Jeffrey Campell shoes: do you know this feeling as an artist when you see something really cool and you feel "I should have done this!" ? 

Because the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates cognitives dissonance  within the experiencing subject due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time. This cognitive dissonance often leads to an outright rejection of the object, as one would rather reject than rationalize.

I can the dolls head on my dress! 

It what happen with the barbie jewels, barbie is a familiar object, we grow up with barbie, but is not suppose to be worn, to be separated from its body. This is the displacement that create the feeling of "the uncanny." 

With  my friend Simona, a video artist and filmmaker, we experimented with light and filters inspired by Dark and Rudd Van Empel aesthetic. 

 I like  her use of over-saturated and harsh light, this dark coldness that you kind find  in  other east- european  dark- realism aesthetic -she is from Lithuania-  (sorry for generalising). With her background in documentary she has a really accurate sense of observation, she lets you be and suddenly her eye catch something which could appear insignificant at first sight, but she presents it as if you were looking at it for the first time in your life. 

Barbie jewels always make people talk about their on childhood, revealing  the kind of child they were. "My sister loved to play with barbie, but I liked climbing on trees" so, on day I took the barbie with me on the tree hoping for my sister to join me.  But she didn't so I ended up plying alone with her barbie on the tree."

The Island Of The Dolls – located in the vast, bewildering network of canals that lies to the south of Mexico City, between the urban sprawl and the more traditional farmland region called Xochimilco is rich in history and superstition.

Created by the hermit Don Julián Santana who, despite having a wife and family, chose to live alone on the island for over 50 years before his death in 2001, the Island Of The Dolls is a shrine to a dead girl who was said to haunt him, and in whose honour he collected dolls, to calm her restless spirit.

For decades, Don Julián amassed a huge collection of dolls that had been rejected by their owners, either plucking them out of the canal as they bobbed past, or scavenging toys from rubbish heaps on rare excursions from his secluded home. 

In later years, locals began to trade old dolls with Don Julián in return for home-grown vegetables, and before his death the hermit’s cadaverous collection covered every inch of the island – each unloved toy receiving a second lease of life as part of his surreal shrine.

 Originally, I made this  books jacket for Wei Da Chen  show "Alice the Most Beautiful Moment" where I was performing a young librarian  experimenting with paper as a variation of my book dress,  creating origami patterns.

Alice; The most Beautiful Moment is a multimedia show inspired by the American poet Sylvia Plath, combining live performance pre-recorded speeches and videos.  

An interesting experiment  which  synchronise live performance with pre-recorded videos and speech engaging  a kind of dialogue with the holographic version of the character. 

                       picture by Simona Zemaityte 

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