Sunday, 23 October 2016


A trailer for Adam Curtis' recent film 'HyperNormalisation' (1) commented that corporate monitoring of online activity is now so prevalent and algorithms so powerful that our internet experience resembles gazing into a mirror. The internet reflects back to us our interests and is tailored to us according to our online history so that, in affect, we inhabit a cyber reproduction of our self.


Hegemonic Masculinity.

This piece explores the concept of hegemonic masculinity- the dominant way of being a man in a particular time and culture, this dominance being over other competing forms of masculinity (1).
This piece is made up of street photography plus images from newspapers and magazines.
Constructing this made me aware of the discrepancy in the number of photos of female and male bodies in the media, where there is a notable continuation of the 'male gaze'.
The images of masculinity that men (and women) are continually subjected to seem to emphasise masculinity as assured, confident, active, combative and powerful either socially, economically, politically or physically.
The photo of three men (centre top) where (veiled but) sexist comments and objectificating have been superimposed perpetuates the idea that men have the right to gaze upon, and judge, the physicality of women. I felt it was legitimate to add Nigel Farage as he recently sought to play down Donald Trump's sexist comments. 
The reproduction of hegemonic masculinity occurs from an early age through role models, toys and cartoons and continues throughout adulthood, I was interested in the similarity of pose and visual message between Bob the Builder and the serviceman above
I included Jeremy Corbyn outside a fence because, to a degree, he is an example of an alternative masculinity that eschews symbols of power and dominance       

(1) Woodward, K. (2008) 'Boxing masculinities: attachment, embodiment and heroic narratives.' in Redman, P. (2008) 'Attachment. Sociology and Social Worlds', Open University/Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York p.88

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The All Seeing Eye.

Online data collection by governments is often contested and challenged while data collection by corporations seems to be accepted by many as part and parcel of online activities. 
Although the symbolism and meaning of The All Seeing Eye has been adopted by several groups historically here it is stripped of any specific religious meaning and has been appropriated and deployed to convey the idea that all and everything you do online is being noted and recorded by various companies.



For about 10 years I have been interviewing musicians for various 'zines and websites, in 2016 I started a project to disrupt the dominance of male voices in rock by interviewing more female and female fronted bands thereby giving space to voices often ignored in music. One of the questions I often ask female musicians concerns their experience within music. This collage is centred around some of their answers, drawing attention to the prevalence of sexism and essentialism in the music scene. 
The main content of the piece is text on LP inner sleeves, while the backdrop includes a cartoon strip on gender. The phrase 'Your Life Is A Radical Act' is a comment on the sexism common in music because of course a woman playing an instrument is not radical except against a reactionary patriarchal background. The phrase also links to 'Action Pact' in the centre of the piece as the strength to resist oppression is normally found in solidarity with others in a similar social position.
Because in Western Europe we read left to right, top to bottom in the bottom right corner is the comment 'And this leads to a wider conversation, we are all socialised into this sexist, bullshit patriarchal world'
Overall I think this idea could be developed and executed in a more effective way.
(NB The comments on the LP sleeves are not related to the musicians pictured in the LP sleeves.)

Hegemonic Femininity.

This piece explores the concept of hegemonic femininity- the dominant way of being a woman in a particular time and culture, this dominance being over other competing forms of femininity (1).
The images in the collage are photos taken in shopping streets/malls and pictures taken from a mainstream and popular newspaper. This was deliberate as it emphasises the continual stream of representation women are subjected to in the every day of life.
Initially the collage was smaller but an interview online I read with actress Maxine Peake alerted me to the continued presence of fertility and family in our society's narrative of idealised womanhood.
Two of the photos are of a toyshop window where small girls are shown playing with toys that encourage nurture and domesticity as female traits. Some of the images show the preoccupation with female physicality, sexuality and beauty in society but these are hopefully challenged/contested within the artwork by the reoccurring motif of idealised female faces behind caging, the phrase 'Women Who Fight Back' and the top right photo which encourages women to 'Fight Perfection' with '#ittakescourage', a Ray-Ban campaign encouraging people to have the courage to be happy with themselves despite society's stereotypes (2).    

(1) Woodward, K. (2008) 'Boxing masculinities: attachment, embodiment and heroic narratives.' in Redman, P. (2008) 'Attachment. Sociology and Social Worlds', Open University/Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York p.88



This piece is the documenting of what could be called 'performance art'!
We are interconnected and inter-related our lives being affected, shaped and influenced by the decisions, choices and actions of people, structures and institutions we may never experience directly or even be aware of. The myth of the autonomous, independent individual is exactly that, a myth. We exercise our limited agency within structures and situations that are not of our making or choosing.
On 26/9/16 I stopped 9 people in London and asked them to take a photo of me thus deliberately introducing a 1 minute pause into their life, in effect hitting the 'Reset' button. Because of that intervention they would now be running 1 minute behind where they would have been; they would meet different people, see things differently, join queues at different points, catch different tubes and buses. They may now meet new best friends, future partners, who knows!
The piece is made up of the map I used on the day and each photo has an accompanying description of the photographer whose life has been reordered by the act of taking the photo.

Reproduction of Femininity.

In this piece I have explored the social construction of femininity, objectification and the reduction of women to interchangeable commodities. 'Femininity' is continually being constructed and reconstructed for the benefit of the male gaze, the gratification of men and the profit of capital (the top strip is of clothes models, the bottom strip of perfumes etc. Adhering to gendered expectations is costly for women both in terms of time and cash). For women (and men) the experience of gendered socialisation is immersive and inculcated as normal from an early age as indicated by the 'parental' male/female faces on the figure on the left-however although some women collaborate in the process of socialisation and objectification behind the collaboration (as the figure implies) lies capitalist patriarchy and consequential female oppression.