the haute couture death text images
the images are stolen. stolen twice. if i wanted them in a context of pornography or sexist fashion i would not need to steal them from their thieves. but i want the context and the content of a radically inclusive democracy. in a context of chrysocratic terror deterioration appears as progress and decay seems like a necessary evolutionary process.
i work to decompose the commodified images and erase their encrypted marketing strategies. we are being sold a war against ourselves. a cosmetic economy masks the horror and lures us to complicity.
the texts layered over the images are also stolen. stolen and translated, deliberately mistranslated, recensions redacted improvisationally to render texts as dissonant music in disjunctive fragments. each textual fragment is a discourse against war presented as language at war against itself.
normative language usage would sell us to ourselves as proponents of the ideology of war, individual expressions of that universal agenda, sexist, racist and classist, subservient to the pragmatism of power. i would steal the discourse itself and rewrite it against its imposed, invasive intentions. i would invite the reader to continue a similar process.
i call these images collectively the haute couture death text series. the death text itself is a long anti-war poem in prose. while i was writing it, in the months leading up to the invasion of iraq, i came across a stack of elle magazines in a box beside a dumpster. i brought the box home and put it under my desk, where it remained for several months. after i finished writing the text i decided to scan the images from the fashion advertisements in the magazines. then i layered the text over the scans.
i liked the results, so i started gathering images of models and actresses to extend the series. the images are appropriated and detourned, recontextualized and used for purposes counter to those intended by their original publishers. i seriously doubt it would have occurred to me to layer these images with anti-war texts if i hadnt been thinking in terms of a feminist critique of war, and of something very much like a countercultural critique of a dominant culture in which both sexism and militarism flourish.
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Roanoke / Virginia (USA)