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I wasn't quite as surprised as this icon: it's one of Ki's photos of Larissa, a classmate of hers at Evergreen. But when I saw where the Royal Academy graduation award ceremonies were held, in one of the inner courts of the Academy... well, I hadn't expected to see the bodies of container trucks, at least 24 of them, stacked up to make a theatre:

Those are yellow canvas straps holding the walls together [probably they're welded in some way also.] But it was amazing to see steel freight containers used in this way instead of seeig them stacked up on a harbor pier somewhere or mounted on truck wheels roaring up behind you coming much too fast! And this structure is permanently there, they use it for other things the rest of the year.

Merce Wouthuysen is a photo artist who apparently is an exception to what I said below about encouragement: the faculty did not like her work because it is "too pretty" and, she told me, they just didn't get it. Merce is an anti-porn feminist based in Amsterdam, and she wants her audiences to experience her art by thinking deeply and for a whole long time about the messages she presents.

This is a real vending machine, she bought it because she told me it cost about as much to rent it. She photographed two models, one a Playboy centerfold, then cut each photograph into pieces at the correct size to fit into the chutes where normally candy or gum would be. The centerfold pieces are what you see first, then when you pay your coin and make your selection of a piece --- you can buy an elbow, finger, lip, nipple ---, gradually the non-airbrushed, non-madeup, "real" woman is revealed. This goes on piece by piece until the centerfold is sold-out and only the other model remains. With a very sad expression on her face, completely opposite to what sells magazines. It's a very harsh comment on how women are commodified and turned into objects of purchase.

At the end of this post I've put a portrait into which Merce has inserted rows of lucite pegs that make a pattern. The portrait sits on the face of a light box so that you see lighted amber dots and, from side angles, the whole lengths of the lucite pegs which pierce the image. I darkened the photo I made in order to bring out the dot pattern, which makes an image of autosexuality or maybe even intercourse, if you see an imaginary male holding the dot-pattern on his lap.

The look on the model's face, of incredulity and annoyance, grew on me more and more as I walked around and changed my point of view [changed my physical relation to the portrait]... which is one of Merce's purposes, of course, in displaying the work.

And to prove audience actually SAT inside the container-cave and listened to faculty speeches that were WAY too long-winded ..

Some of what they said was in English, most in Dutch, but it was okay to be bored, I guess, because most of the kids were also. Merce was not up for a prize at all; Amber [previous post] had been nominated but didn't win.

I'm a bit dubious anyway about awarding prizes for creative art when approaches and contexts can be so different and maybe conflict with the subjectivity of those making the decisions about who wins and who loses -- "they just didn't get it".

So it was an explosion of creativity, on display for a week plus, and I wish I had lots more time and space to post more favourites. But hopefully you will get the idea.

And here is the second portrait from Merce:

I don't know how anyone graduates from this. More like a milestone on a journey...


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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