Where the realms of public and private become intertwined.
Gillian Wearing – an artist known for her controversial and provocative art. Her work is the epitome of contemporary art, as it attempts to unearth issues in new and intriguing ways. I am not a particularly big fan of her work but do rather like this piece and used it to illustrate a point in a previous essay. Although it appears as a still image here and in most places on the internet, it is in actual fact a video installation, a mighty long one at that, racking up a total of sixty consecutive minutes. The officers, who are in actual fact volunteers, are made to sit or stand as still as they possibly can for the whole duration! For the minutes I have watched of it, they all seem to do the task justice but of course cracks begin to show. The initial stillness that is seen at the start, develops into slight motion as each officer allows their individuality to be shown through fidgets, twitches and facial expressions. It is interesting how it proves individuality breaks through the facade of uniform. One male participant lets out a significant scream at the end, reiterating the effect control has on the individual body.
Subcultures are always a fun topic to look at and with the Exactitudes project by Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, this idea of uniform is explored further through photos of different subcultures from all over in their matching -yet slightly altered clothing. Group identity does not always have to be limiting, it can be a positive form of unity and clothing helps to establish it. Dress codes of specific groups is a way for individuals to belong while simultaneously expressing uniqueness from others. It is a type of catch 22 situation, as individuals attempt to be different but end up looking the same as those who are into the same sort of style or scene. The project began it 1994 with the pair photographing the gabba movement in Rotterdam. The photos are taken in a studio and when the people are approached they are asked to bring the outfit they are in, along with a few others, the outfit most suited to the look of the group is the one that makes the cut. In order to choose the pose of each group, they ask the individual who they believe best embodies the look to strike a few poses and pick the best one from the lot. Then all the rest of the participants of this subculture must follow suit and imitate the chosen stance. Look at the wonderful pattern made on their homepage, produced with the repetition of ‘personal’ identity.
All in all, a very cool project. The website lets you have a peek at them all in close detail so it is possible to see the individual through all the monotony. Go HERE to explore more.