Petite, with androgynous forms, between that of a boy and an upgrowing girl, they are bodies beyond perfection: white, sanitized, with no gender attachment. However, despite their porcelain-like surface, the bodies and the images are imbued with a devious emotional charge. They are uncanny in that they hold together a contrast between the coldness of the enamelled body surface and the reiteration of human gestures and reactions.
Doll-images have been perpetuated in various artistic practices, from painting and sculpture, to photography and digital art, in renderings of dimensional forms that speak about the fulfilment of our desire for perfect bodies, much like Pygmalion’s Galatea. Today, the carnal body has become the central locus, the battlefield for technological and perfection inquiries, a controversial relation that inspired directions in post-humanist philosophy. Such way of thinking gives technology a central stage. It affirms and demands ever new possibilities for the improvement of human bodies through applied science. Digital images and software technology are in the front row to be discussed in the frame of post-humanism, humanoid forms and artificial life, as they mediate and enhance the way we perceive and identify ourselves in a culture of image and technological interconnection.
TTY’s series tackles upon the photographic medium by technological tools and virtual explorations filtered through art history references. The works presented dispose bodies in representations of other era compositions. Tout ce qui naît tend à mourir and La Raison dans l’Histoire are reiterations of imagistic constructions that have had tremendous impact on the way they enhance human expression and body sensorialities. The first is inspired by Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas. Even in the clean, sanitized picturing, the fascination of the wound almost calls back carnalities. Yet we are reminded of the body’s precariousness only by the hand motif. In analogy to Caravaggio’s painting, the motif signals that we speak of a body that left behind the mortal form and became an intangible one. What is also of interest here is that, according to David Hockney, when analysing the light, the framing and the way the characters are disposed, one might be lead to think that Caravaggio has used a camera obscura for this painting. Much as this aspect continues to be disputed by critics, it brings about not only one of the first eye prosthesis in rendering images, but also the way we analyse images through the technological perspective.
La Raison dans l’Histoire makes a virtual interpretation of another wounded body, The Napalm Girl photography taken by Nick Ut. The iconic image referencing the use of napalm bombs and the war in Vietnam is considered to be one of the most expressive images and has a great impact on people especially because it depicts a fragile, uncovered, child in pain. In TTY’s version, the child’s body is isolated and the play is on the face as a locus for the simulation of emotions, on how expressions can change the already given content, even if references to the original image persist. While the two part series The Kiss of Love is not citing overtly any grand oeuvre, it does however recall Rodin’s famous sculpture The Kiss, that through its simplicity and whiteness concentrates on the tension between two bodies in the emerging sensualities of their behaviour – an erotic edge that transforms the viewer into a voyeur and inspires carnal feelings across the glazed surface. Within these series, the models are not only blueprints for bodies, but they take upon blueprints of situations in the sense that their functionality as models reflects in poses where the historical context has been whitened out of all their social and political weight. They become pure representations, an artificial breed. The analogies are not limited to representation. The use of strict procedures, algorithms and software are similar to the formal rules of construction characteristic of fine art works.
TTY’s play with photographic structures and virtuality reveals the interconnections between perception and apparatus. The relationship with technology exceeds that of a mere tool; our interactions with them are moulding our ways of seeing. Their role goes beyond prosthetics and reveals itself in a symbiotic relationship with the eye. The informational flux and algorithmic constructions articulate bodies and machines in a way that overlaps the borderline between the body and the computational simulation, extending bodies through machines in amalgamated correlations. Memes – the replication and perverted simulation of the human emotions – is one of the ways through which references to the human bodies are reflected in the digital dimension.
Text by Edith Lázár, January 8, 2015