For this part of our module, we were asked to collaborate with our fellow students on a mini project of work of our own ideas about taken images, repurposing images and how far we as artists can push the boundaries when appropriating other people's work. My fellow students Noelle and Veronica were very much into popular culture, fashion, and feminism. Our collaboration went very smoothly as we all had similar interests but also different pieces of knowledge to bring to the table. We made the project mostly via WhatsApp, Microsoft teams and Instagram. As modern women using the technology available to us made the ideas and theories discussed more impactful and the simple images with crass slogans have not only double meanings but also humor and in some a real power to them.
It led to the following “Fame Monstre’s “a text is made of multiple writings, drawn from many cultures, and entering mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation, but there is one place where this multiplicity is focused and that is the reader, not, as was hitherto said, the author. [...] A text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination.” (Barthes, 1977).
In addition to Barthes’ theory, we considered Baldassare's strategy of choice in Script (1973- 1977), in which “his choices are clearly not the ones the viewer might have made, further emphasizing the intensely personal nature of selection and judgment making.” The interpretation of an image is down to that of the audience; the communicator tries to influence the receiver, but there is no absolute guarantee or control over this. Therefore, this one-way communication that is broadcast from the author can be interpreted freely by the audience and is dependent on how the audience perceive the overall credibility of the author. By adding text, the image’s message can be manipulated to twist and warp the creator’s original meaning, changing its context to deliver a more ironic connotation that reveals a darker truth.
With this as a basis, we drew inspiration from the works of Sherri Levine and Barbara Kruger, whose work famously recycles images that are not of their own authorship. We chose to use images produced by others; namely that of celebrities.
Our aim was to critique and challenge the original author’s intended narrative by placing one or two words across the image that juxtaposed the implied message. The chosen words are still relevant to the reputation of that public figure but have been selected to supply satirical commentary.
Instead of one lone image, we considered the impact of a series of images as proven in Bernd & Hilla Becher’s Cooling Towers (1983).
To also place the works in a contemporary context compared to its pop culture theme, we chose Instagram as the platform which would supply the most impactful layout. In this instance by making the images ‘controversial’ it will provoke the viewers to think and ask questions.
The subjects of the piece, rightly or wrongly, have been involved in major public and media spectacles in their rise to fame. The words chosen with them are not ours as artists opinions but the words that were used toward these women at the time, their own words or words that may still be the opinion of the viewer. These words reduce the subjects to cartoon-like characters, non-human and put them in a box due to their reputation, instead of being seen as human with complex and whole identities. Again, a reason we used social media as a medium to show our work is due to millions of people each day condensing their own lives into boxes, carefully curated filtered images, using words to create an impression of themselves but in turn is a place people can also judge without filter or ramification. “Fame Montsre’s” shows how easily that can be abused and how quickly we as society turn against women if considered unsuitable in a widely patriarchal and media obsessed world.
Tammy Snipe Noelle Vaughn Veronica Da ConCeicao
Sources: BARTHES, Roland ‘The Death of the Author’ 1977:
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Baldessari, J., 1974. Script 1974. [image] Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2022]. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/barbara-kruger-1443. 2022. Barbara Kruger born 1945. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2022].
Levine, S., 1981. After Walker Evans. [image]
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