Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Picturing our children and art...

School children sitting outside Parliament. 24 August 2016. Photo: Julie Clarke (c)
I began the week attempting to work through several issues, the first being the fact that I was surprised female commentators were shocked about a website in which young men hold a cache of naked or partially naked photographs of young women swapped or traded between members of their web community who also own and distrbute surreptitious photographs or ones taken by the girls themselves and posted on social media sites. Apparently, in this flesh market, young women can be easily identified by their name or school they attend and they are served up to the male viewer as a catalogue of bodily positions appealing to their sexual fantasies. Given that male and female teenagers are sending each other dick or vag pics via text messages and by nature of digital imagery the photographs can easily distributed to other friends not in the boys or girls original circle, the occurrence of such a phenomenon as outlined above does not surprise me at all, for erotic postcards and the distribution of such has been around for centuries. What does surprise me is why young men and women feel they need to show their genitalia in a glut of already pornographic images on the internet. I am aware and many young women are aware, that women, particularly pop culture singers rely heavily on the sexualisation of their body in order to gain attention in their video clips and, facial and bodily beauty is prime currency in this era in which the body IS everything. Is trading photographs of their genitalia a way of separating one site of their sexuality away from their real body; objectification a way for them to hide their self and identity, whilst simultaneously associating themself with the raw base of what they are trading? Could this trade be an assertion of an uncomfortable knowledge known by teenagers that ultimately each of them are only interested in sex and that many relationships no matter how wholesome end in the sexual act. Alternatively, could the revealing of genitalia, divorced from the individual be an aggressive act to dissasociate self from gender? Perhaps the girls are saying that they know what the boys want and they will give it to them virtually, but there is no way that they will get it in actuality.
My second preoccupation over the past week is my inability to like the art I've been viewing. I didn't really enjoy the Painting exhibition at ACCA last week, however, having said that I did enjoy some of Roberty Owen's digital color paintings I viewed with Leonie Osowski today and I did enjoy Jessica Rankin's poetic piece Could I Just Have the Sober Hand, just one of her works currently showing at Anna Schwartz Gallery. Leonie and I did a gallery hop down Flinders Lane and we had to admit there was little to like or challenge us although Leonie liked some of the sculptural pieces at ARC Gallery. Lisa Minogue's The Coloured Girls at fortyfive downstairs was too literal and the devise of covering black skinned women with colored face masks was trite to say the least. Lunch in the sun at Signature at the Paris end of Collins Street was good, as was coffee at Federation Square late in the afternoon even though the day had turned cold again. I thought of Mark McDean several times during the day. He was a friend (now deceased) that would regularly accompany me on a gallery hop around the city. In the end the most praise Leonie and I had during the day was the tesselated tiles on the floors of St. Paul's and the stunningly beautiful stain glass windows.

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