Monday, February 23, 2009

Comparative Scale

For this project, I took two aspects from Lisa Steele’s “Birthday Suit with Scars and Defects” (the catalyst for this assignment): the idea of documenting something that happened to my body well after it happened, and shooting it in one long shot.

The video is a documentation of a Fluxus-inspired action as written on the card at the beginning of the piece. By documenting an action, I am expanding on Steele’s documentation process.

By choosing to weigh my breasts, I am giving a numerical value to my own breasts, which may seem absurd but they already have one as determined by my bra size and men seem to measure their penises with some regularity (or at least I’ve been convinced that this is the case). They are signifiers of womanhood and femininity. In extreme cases though, they are signs of masculinity and over sexualisation.

The title “Comparative Scale” makes it more clear that I am comparing each breast against the other, as well as highlighting the context in which it is presented – a public video website. The entirety of the project is up for the scrutiny of not only the class, or the person marking it but anyone who happens to find it.

The breasts themselves are objects of scrutiny for so many and so often. Delving further into this idea feels condescending and frankly a little painful.

The blurriness of the video speaks to the impossibility of the project itself. It is impossible to accurately weigh breasts without removing them. I still have mine so the results are skewed which is evidenced by being able to see my breathing in the meter of the scale. The removal of a person’s breasts is generally associated with a sex change, cancer or an aesthetic choice. Each of these carries a load of meaning that is referenced in the action but isn’t directly featured.

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