refuse

Often, when I do a series, I discard many photos.

It’s too disturbing. Or ‘a bit too much’. Or not powerful enough, or whatever. I end up discarding many incredible images.

I found these ones, from my series ‘refuse’, based on many of Foucault’s text on power. In 2014 I went through a black bag phase, fascinated with the nature of the plastic, the way it stretches, they way it’s fragile and can tear easily but at the same time keep things contained.

Here are some images I decided not to put in the series. I like the way my flesh appears super red. The contrast between flesh and plastic.

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some Beuys…

Been appreciating some Beuys lately, and this work of his, OMG, so goddamn sexy. Beuys can heal me anytime….
Been thinking about meds, and how ‘art pills’ are not really for sale.
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Joseph Beuys, Zeige deine Wunde (Show Your Wound) 1974–5

Show Your Wound 1974-75

Beuys originally created the environment Show Your Wound for a desolate underground passage in Munich. Its aura of melancholy and mourning arises from its subject matter: death, decay and a sense of trauma that Beuys referred to as the ‘wound’.

The ‘wound’ is a recurring theme in Beuys’s work and holds many associations, from individual illness and physical injury to collective grief. Beuys was wounded a number of times during the Second World War, and in the 1950s, he had a serious psychological breakdown. In 1975, the year Show Your Wound was completed, he suffered a heart-attack.

Beuys was one of the first German artists to reflect on his country’s recent political history in his work, and more specifically to focus on German responsibility for the Holocaust. The blackboards incorporated into this installation seem to be a call to action, a call for the German nation to ‘show your wound’. In this way, the work functions as an act of remembrance and a vehicle for mourning.

As in many of Beuys’s sculptural works, objects are presented as doubles. These include paired agricultural implements, twin blackboards and two mortuary dissection-tables, below which are double sets of containers filled with fat, as if bodily fluids had drained into them. Beuys often employed the concept of double identity to signal opposition and unresolved conflict.

iron maiden in heels

“The resulting hallucination materializes, for women, as something all too real. No longer just an idea, it becomes three-dimensional, incorporating within itself how women live and how they do not live: It becomes the Iron Maiden. The original Iron Maiden was a medieval German instrument of torture, a body-shaped casket painted with the limbs and features of a lovely, smiling young woman. The unlucky victim was slowly enclosed inside her; the lid fell shut to immobilize the victim, who died either of starvation or, less cruelly, of the metal spikes embedded in her interior. The modern hallucination in which women are trapped or trap themselves is similarly rigid, cruel, and euphemistically painted. Contemporary culture directs attention to imagery of the Iron Maiden, while censoring real women’s faces and bodies.” –The beauty myth, naomi wolf

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jenny holzer’s lustmord

tumblr_lvjb8o7dGC1qbsieho1_400Lustmord is an installation which was prompted by the atrocities of the Ex-Yugoslavia war. Lustmord is the association of two German words: Lust, which means desire, and Mord which signifies murder or assassination. In German this building of words is ambiguous and can convey in the same time “sex-murder”, but also “rape-slaying”, “lust-killing”. This installation was at first a group of photographs (a selection is displayed on the exhibition), representing written sentences on human bodies. Those are fragments, following various points of view like the one the victim or the torturer, testimonies of horrible facts such as “she acts like a left animal for cooking”, “she has no taste left to her and this makes it easier for me”. For the exhibition the installation is composed by a group of human bones, masculine and feminine, lying on a wooden table. On the bones we discover silver bands where are engraved those same fragments. The choice of the material is here of a great intelligence. It puts into light with power the eternal mark of the violence which went trough the flesh and even penetrated until the bone. The fact of not engraving directly on it but on a silver band could refer to those chain bracelets we conserve all our life, where initials or significant sentence keeps rubbing against our skin. But here there is no more protection, no more frontier between the verb and our intimacy, since those women or girls got hurt far beyond their skin. The sanctuary of Lustmord could be the incarnation of the deep violence of this war, too often left apart.

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gregory crewdson

Gregory Crewdson works within a photographic tradition that combines the documentary style of William Eggleston and Walker Evans with the dream-like vision of filmmakers such as Stephen Spielberg and David Lynch. Crewdson’s method is equally filmic, building elaborate sets to take pictures of extraordinary detail and narrative portent.Untitled-Penitent-Daughter gregory_crewdson_18 Gregory_Crewdson_normal GregoryCrewdson gregory-crewdson-21 gregory-crewdson-22 gregorycrewdson (1)

ida applebroog

“In 1969 Ms. Applebroog, then known by her married name, Ida Horowitz, was a mother of four, a native New Yorker living unhappily in San Diego, where her husband had moved the family to accept an academic position. Ms. Applebroog had been struggling to make a name for herself as an artist and struggling with depression. Her only sanctuary in her chaotic household came at night, when she shut herself in the bathroom and climbed into the tub.

Over a period of several weeks just before her 40th birthday, she took a sketch pad into the bathroom with her too and perched in front of a full-length mirror, making obsessive self-portraits, more than 150 in all, but portraits focused exclusively on her naked crotch. The drawings — like a long series of practice sketches for Courbet’s “Origin of the World,” except in this instance made by the owner of the crotch — were done in India ink with a crow-quill pen, each one an elegant variation, depending on her mood or the state of her body. (When asked recently what was going through her mind as she was making these drawings, she just flashed a defiant smile and wagged a finger at her questioner.)”

-part of an article found here

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windswept women by miwa yanagi

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Miwa Yanagi represented Japan at the 53rd Venice Biennale with her installation entitled Windswept Women: The Old Girls’ Troupe. For this installation, Yanagi took the Takamasa Yoshizaka-designed Japan Pavilion built in 1956 and covered its exterior with a black, membrane-like tent. Invoking the original idea of a “pavilion” as a free standing or temporary structure, the fluidity and mobility of the tent form turned the Japan Pavilion into a temporary playhouse.

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Inside, Yanagi installed giant 4m high photograph stands containing portraits of women of varied ages.  Upon entering, viewers felt disoriented, losing their sense of scale and perspective as they walked among oversized works.The motif of this installation was a troupe comprised exclusively of women traveling with their mobile house — a tent — on the top of their caravan. This tent, inspired by the novels of Japanese modernist writer Kobo Abe, has already appeared in Yanagi’s previous Fairy Tales (2004-05) series of staged photographs, and has been a key to expressing ambivalent themes such as the tensions between “life and death,” “past and future,” “confinement and mobility” and “everyday life and festival.”

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The photographs of gigantic women Yanagi has created for Venice symbolize resolution. They stand unmoved despite being surrounded by turbulent wind. No matter happens, they will keep their feet planted firmly on the ground.Presented in ornately designed decorative frames, these women seem surreal but also embody an element of nostalgia. Although the images themselves have a macabre quality, they encourage us to embrace vitality.

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They take on added significance in Venice, where the threat of imminent death has been a concern for the city throughout its history, as well as in light of the critical economic recession currently affecting people throughout the world. Yanagi’s installation expresses respect for the Venice Biennale itself and indicates her arrival as an artist. And, by transcending feminism in its strictest sense, the work is certain to call to mind the fundamental power of art.

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the hammer of the witches

The Malleus Maleficarum (Latin for “The Hammer of Witches”, or “Der Hexenhammer” in German) is a famous treatise on witches, written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, two Inquisitors of the Catholic Church, and was first published in Germany in 1487. The main purpose of the Malleus was to attempt to systematically refute arguments claiming that witchcraft does not exist, discredit those who expressed skepticism about its reality, to claim that witches were more often women than men, and to educate magistrates on the procedures that could find them out and convict them.

The Malleus Maleficarum was published in 1487 by Heinrich Kramer (Latinized Institoris) and James Sprenger (also known as Jacob or Jakob Sprenger ). Scholars have debated how much Sprenger contributed to the work. Some say his role was minor while others say there is little evidence for this claim.

In 1484 Kramer made one of the first attempts at a systematic persecution of witches in the region of Tyrol. It was not a success, Kramer was thrown out of the territory, and dismissed by the local bishop as a “senile old man”. According to Diarmaid MacCulloch, writing the book was Kramer’s act of self-justification and revenge. Some scholars have suggested that following the failed efforts in Tyrol, Kramer and Sprenger requested and received a papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus in 1484. It allegedly gave full papal approval for the Inquisition to prosecute witchcraft in general and for Kramer and Sprenger specifically. Malleus Maleficarum was written in 1484 or 1485 and the papal bull was included as part of the preface. The preface also includes an approbation from the University of Cologne’s Faculty of Theology. The authenticity of the Cologne endorsement was first questioned by Joseph Hansen but Christopher S. Mackay rejects his theory as a misunderstanding. The Malleus Maleficarum drew on earlier sources like the Johannes Nider’s treatise Formicarius, written 1435/37.

The book became the handbook for witch-hunters and Inquisitors throughout Late Medieval Europe. Between the years 1487 and 1520, the work was published thirteen times. It was again published between the years of 1574 to 1669 a total of sixteen times. Regardless of the authenticity of the papal bull and endorsements which appear at the beginning of the book, its presence contributed to the popularity of the work.

Ancient pre-Christian beliefs in reality of witchcraft had been denied by the church in earlier centuries; the first Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne had specifically outlawed the old practice of witch burning “in the manner of the pagans”. By the 15th century belief in witches was once again openly accepted in European society, but they typically suffered penalties no more harsh than public penances such as a day in the stocks Persecution of witches became more brutal following the publication of the Malleus, with witchcraft being accepted as a real and dangerous phenomenon.

The Malleus Maleficarum asserts that three elements are necessary for witchcraft: the evil-intentioned witch, the help of the Devil, and the Permission of God. The treatise is divided up into three sections. The first section tries to refute critics who deny the reality of witchcraft, thereby hindering its prosecution. The second section describes the actual forms of witchcraft and its remedies. The third section is to assist judges confronting and combating witchcraft. However, each of these three sections has the prevailing themes of what is witchcraft and who is a witch. The Malleus Maleficarum can hardly be called an original text, for it heavily relies upon earlier works such as Visconti and, most famously, Johannes Nider’s Formicarius (1435).

Between 1487 and 1520, twenty editions of the Malleus were published, and another sixteen editions were published between 1574 to 1669. Popular accounts suggest that the extensive publishing of the Malleus Maleficarum in 1487 launched centuries of witch-hunts in Europe. Estimations of deaths have varied widely. According to MacCulloch, the Malleus was one of several key causes of the witch craze, along with popular superstition, jealously of witches’ knowledge from humanist scholars, and tensions created by the Reformation. However, as some researchers have noted, the fact that the Malleus was popular does not imply that it accurately reflected or influenced actual practice; one researcher compared it to confusing a “television docu-drama” with “actual court proceedings.” Estimates about the effect of the Malleus should thus be weighed accordingly.

Download “The Hammer of Witches” here

pleasure and pain

 

“Eribon (French journalist Didier Eribon, who wrote an earlier biography ) notes that at school, where Goya’s horrific etchings of the victims of war decorated his walls, Foucault was “almost universally detested.” Schoolmates remember him as brilliant, but also aloof, sarcastic, and cruel. He several times attempted—and more often threatened—suicide. Self-destruction, in fact, was another of Foucault’s obsessions, and Miller is right to underscore Foucault’s fascination with death. In this, as in so much else, he followed the lead of the Marquis de Sade, who had long been one of his prime intellectual and moral heroes. (Though, as Miller notes, Foucault felt that Sade “had not gone far enough,” since, unaccountably, he continued to see the body as “strongly organic.”) Foucault came to enjoy imagining “suicide festivals” or “orgies” in which sex and death would mingle in the ultimate anonymous encounter. Those planning suicide, he mused, could look “for partners without names, for occasions to die liberated from every identity.”…

“Foucault joined again in the orgies of torture, trembling with “the most exquisite agonies,” voluntarily effacing himself, exploding the limits of consciousness, letting real, corporeal pain insensibly melt into pleasure through the alchemy of eroticism… . Through intoxication, reverie, the Dionysian abandon of the artist, the most punishing of ascetic practices, and an uninhibited exploration of sadomasochistic eroticism, it seemed possible to breach, however briefly, the boundaries separating the conscious and unconscious, reason and unreason, pleasure and pain—and, at the ultimate limit, life and death—thus starkly revealing how distinctions central to the play of true and false are pliable, uncertain, contingent.”

From The Passion of Michel Foucault by James Miller

read more about it here