Objects of Desire & Disgust
ART 4720 | Color Photography
From the very beginning photographs were employed to induce desire and promote the spectacle of commodities. Throughout this semester long collaborative project, the included artists examined the relationships between human desire, visual representation, and the relationship to photography. The ideas explored include desire as validation of the self; sexual desire and The Gaze; the fetishized object; the engineering of desire through advertising; and photography as a facilitator of desire. The artists considered photographic techniques that are used to create desire, such as commercial studio lighting, as a tool to subvert and critique the role that images play in creating the spectacle.
A capitalist society requires a culture based on images. It needs to furnish vast amounts of entertainment in order to stimulate buying and anesthetize the injuries of class, race, and sex. And it needs to gather unlimited amounts of information, the better to exploit natural resources, increase productivity, keep order, make war, give jobs to bureaucrats. The camera's twin capacities, to subjectivize reality and to objectify it, ideally serve these needs as strengthen them. Cameras define reality in the two ways essential to the workings of an advanced industrial society: as a spectacle (for masses) and as an object of surveillance (for rulers). The production of images also furnishes a ruling ideology. Social change is replaced by a change in images. The freedom to consume a plurality of images and goods is equated with freedom itself. The narrowing of free political choice to free economic consumption requires the unlimited production and consumption of images.1
Kristen Bennett, Araceli Haslam, Natalie Hopes, Kaitlyn Irvine, Claire Jones, Sogol Kiamanesh, Madison Lopez, Carson Melrose, Rachel Roser, and Douglas Tolman
Facilitated by Professor Jaclyn Wright
1 “The Image-World.” On Photography, by Susan Sontag, Allen Lane, 1978, pp. 178–179.
Objects of Desire & Disgust, an exhibition of student work from Professor Jaclyn Wright's photography class ART 4720, is on view until December 13 in Marriott Library.
Sogol Kiamanesh and Natalie Hopes
Science has proven that greenhouse gases created by animal agriculture causes more pollution than the whole world’s transportation systems and the fossil fuels being released into our air. Meat has been a main source of protein in developed markets for years, however within the next few decades meat will no longer be available. Diets that include alternative sources of proteins, such as insects, are being adapted into everyday lifestyle that can help limit the impacts of climate change and the human consumption of meat. A single cricket ranges between 65–70 percent pure protein, while beef is only 17–40 percent protein. Advertisement of meat products may seem desirable to us but theses objects of disgust are killing our planet at a rapid rate.
Kristen Bennett and Rachel Roser
Society constructs the perception that a perfect body and a wealthy lifestyle will make one feel complete and fulfilled. Vast amounts of marketing promotions, along with the consumption of media and images, create an idealistic facade that is often unattainable. The desired body is typically thin but curvy, and this is advertised as being obtained through relentless exercise, strict dieting, and body modifications. Additionally, one must be successful, have their dream job, and live in an expensive house to feel worthy of societies standards. However, these restrictions and unrealistic lifestyles which are promoted by advertisers, social media platforms, and reality TV have damaging effects on consumers’ mental and physical health. These detrimental effects can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, low self-esteem, and self-harm. Today, are surrounded by relentless and toxic images of the perfect body and lifestyle, and when coupled with thoughts of self-doubt, it can lead to feelings of unhappiness and lack of self-worth.
Kaitlyn Irvine and Madison Lopez
Hotels are typically an important part of coveted vacation time. Online searches advertise the best rooms a hotel has to offer, featuring brightly lit rooms and welcoming down comforters. The fantasy vacation often includes a hotel room that can serve as a home away from home and is luxurious with fresh white sheets, new towels and a clean space. But who else has stayed in these rooms? What have they left behind? These images explore the relationship between the fantasy hotel room we look forward to staying in and the reality of what has happened before our arrival. There are many questions that come to mind, such as, how well have these rooms been cleaned with such quick turn around? How fresh are the linens? With this in mind, we wonder whether someone should think twice before cuddling up in the provided blankets or if it’s better to live in blissful ignorance.
Claire Jones and Carson Melrose
Ice Cream Cone and Essie Bottles are a critique of the influencer advertisement photographs and consumer culture. The repetition of Essie bottles with artificial colors represents our desire to consume products and images. Using perfectly cropped square photos against the landscape of Liquid Joe’s represents the desire we experience from Instagram and the disgust we experience with reality. With the oversaturation of images we’re consuming in our everyday lives, our sense of reality has become dependent on images. The obvious manipulations to the product images are meant to disturb our sense of reality within the digital world.
Araceli Haslam and Douglas Tolman
It is nearly impossible to get by in the world today without a well-established online presence. Your friends expect you to post Instagram stories, your family wants to interact with you on Facebook, and your boss expects you to respond promptly to emails. It can feel like we spend more time communicating on screens than we do living in the real world, and it can be overwhelming. Is it possible to use this constant connection in a healthy way? We invite ourselves and the viewer to reflect on technological habits.
Do you feel anxious when you can’t check your phone for more than a few hours?
Can you remember any of the images you scrolled past today?
Did you make an intentional decision to scroll, or did it just happen?
How do your technological habits affect your personal relationships?
How do your technological habits affect your mental health?