"… Marianne Wex’s collated image bank, ‘“Weibliche” und “männliche” Körpersprache als Folge patriarchalischer Machtverhältnisse’ (‘Female’ and ‘Male’ Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures), is a scrupulous study of‘gendered’ kinesics in photography. In this show, co-curated by the Badischer Kunstverein and Mike Sperlinger, Wex’s own photographs of unsuspecting members of the public, originally taken as research for her paintings, were interspersed with pictures from advertisements, German newspapers and magazines (such as Stern and Der Spiegel), as well as examples of historical figuration. In nearly 5,000 photographs in total, the anonymous rub shoulders with celebrities and politicians.
While the exhibition display gave the work a contemporary aesthetic, the project itself very much reflects the time in which it was constructed. A typical portrait of a male would be that of stolid, proud character, whereas women seem to be generally portrayed as either pretty or self-restrained. Considering their historical context, Wex’s juxtapositions seem to suggest that women embodied their ‘femininity’ as much as men did their ‘masculinity’. Do these distinctions still hold up today? The relevance of showing this particular work now – so rooted is it in the 1970s – is that we are asked to consider whether, or how, hierarchical social conditioning of the unconscious body has changed in the past 40 years. The exhibition also raised the notion of whether taxonomy is still crucial to contemporary understanding. In the era in which Wex made this work, it was discussed as either ‘research’ or ‘art’. Such indexical art practices were being used predominantly by male Conceptual artists. Yet Wex’s project is also still very reflexively revealing to the viewer. One’s own individualized body can easily be read into her photographs – an illuminating effect on behaviour that usually feels ubiquitous and embedded.
It was interesting to note the occasional exceptions within groupings, which Wex sometimes separated out from the other images – for example, a man whose poise might appear effeminate, or an elderly woman whose attitude seems more masculine in disposition. These could be read in terms of a possible development of androgyny within society. The panel ‘“Männliche” Posen’ (‘Masculine’ Poses) shows staged photographs of men and women who, under the instruction of Wex, were asked to pose as the opposite sex. The results are amusing: men look particularly awkward and embarrassed, while many of the women – including Wex’s teenage daughter – pretend to be men with exaggerated confidence, mocking machismo.” - (x)
Marianne Wex Extract from the book Let’s Take Back our Space. “Female” and “Male” Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures, 1979
As I was watching the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency on HBO, which you have to check out, there was a unique scene that I just had to share.
For those of you who are not aware of this show, it is based in Botswana around a woman who opens up her own detective agency. The lead female role is so strong, beautiful and funny - it is incredibly witty, refreshing and smart. Also, there are amazing cut scenes of Africa - I MUST GO soon. It is an amazing feature about sharp-witted, gentle women who lead interesting and challenging lives
In the show, Precious, the owner of the detective agency and her first client named "Happy" were making jokes. They were joking about how if Happy was named ugly, when some would say, "are you ugly?" She would have to respond, "yes, I am ugly". Then Happy made that same joke but with the word "fat", and then nervously looked at Precious, as she was what one can describe as, "fat". To that remark Precious said....
Oh no, I am of traditional weight, and some men like it this way.
Just a simple off the cuff response. It is the truth, though! It is normal being thin, athletic, curvy, or somewhere in between - and so it should be. This was just so refreshing. I am so excited for this show. This is episode 1, about 10 minutes in and already she is such a strong, cunning character full of personality. I LOVE IT, to say the least.
I love her outfits and wardrobe, such bold and fantastic prints! I need some of this in my wardrobe.
Everyday with out rain, brings the rain one day closer.
The New York Highline: a 21st Century Urban Park adhering to a fusion of landscape architecture and city planning while spurring innovative building.
The New York Highline: a 21st Century Urban Park adhering to a fusion of landscape architecture and city planning while spurring innovative building.
Throughout its history, New York has remade itself. New York City's High Line project provides a prime example of the introduction of a natural greenway into an urban core. The High Line brought a new life to an area that once served only the purpose of industry.
The High Line Project, in Manhattan, is an adaptive reuse project that converted an abandoned elevated rail track into a park. This 1.5-mile-long steel and concrete structure is located on Manhattan's West Side and spans twenty two blocks of prime real estate. Built in the 1930s, the High Line solved a deadly problem of rail traffic tangling with cars and pedestrians; although given the nickname ‘death alley’ to pedestrians who lost their lives braving to cross the train tracks. The elevated and abandoned tracks have been an urban oasis for wildflowers, birds, pollutants of the city and trash. The abandoned rail track was continuously threatened of being torn down and accused of being an eyesore as well as negatively effecting the property values of the near by grid holders. After the railway was abandoned nature began to take over creating a park space that was elevated above the street. This gave the area a reason for change, and with the growing population of Manhattan, provided a perfect place in which to grow.
Friends of the High Line were then formed in 1999 with a goal to save this potential gem. The nonprofit organization pushed the issue into public view and got support from planners, politicians, and celebrities alike. A critical moment in the long fight to save the High Line occurred When Joel Sternfeld published photographs he took of the abandoned rail line throughout 2000, “the haunting beauty of wild grasses growing on a rail line in the middle of the city captured the public’s imagination and helped galvanize support.” Landscape architects Field Operations and the architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro won the competition to redesign the High Line in 2004. “Comprising a series of gardens in the form of pits, plains, bridges, mounds, ramps, and flyovers [which] aim to create and preserve experiences of slowness, otherworldliness, and distraction,” As written about when featured at the Museum of Modern Art.
The city decided that it was a great opportunity to create a unique urban park. The designers approached this challenge by resisting the temptation to do too much. “We kept protecting the High Line from architecture,” says Ricardo Scofidio, the principal in charge for DS+R. “The idea was to retain the singularity of the place, to capture its postindustrial charm,” explains James Corner, principal of JCFO. Now, the High Line is considered to be a leading example of a natural greenway in an urban environment. While the High Line is a project in one of the most famous and dense urban areas in the world, the idea can be carried and applied to smaller mixed-use developments. The ideas and principles can be used to form an interesting, linear park space that could be implemented into any urban or developing environment. The High Line provides examples on how a natural greenway can relate to the built environment.
Not only is the architecture progressive, the urban planning techniques that surrounded the Highline Project reflect this as well. Urban design controls were set up for the area to ensure that adequate light and air reach the new [old] elevated park; a stark contrast to other parts in Manhattan. Spoken in past tense Hammond stated that “changes were coming to Chelsea with or with-out the High Line, but the re- zoning preserved light and air around the High Line, allows the galleries to thrive, and promotes affordable housing. It’s going to be one of the most unique public spaces in New York City.” For creating an unlikely urban park in a unique public space, the New York City Department of City Planning is the winner of the 2006 Outstanding Planning Award for a Special Community Initiative. Earning and giving out that award or one related to it should be considered a respectable and important part of politics, that is to reward progressive reuse and sustainable ingenuity. The Highline has had ravishing reviews and few criticisms so far. Some say it may be “the most significant new public space since Central Park.” Unlike Central Park however, which removes one from urbanity, the High Line is very much a part of the fabric of the city and enabled the public to grasp a fresh and unusual perspective.
“We want to make sure that it doesn’t turn into an elevated street," said James Corner, Director of field operations. "Part of the magic of the thing is its complete separation from the city. It is completely severed from everything around it, and that is what makes it an interesting place to walk." The designers chose to implement an up and coming technique coined “agritecture”. Their designs relate to it because of their feathering in on the landscape of hard and soft elements. “We didn’t want a sharp delineation between the plantings and the hardscape,” states Corner. “So we treated the park as a continuous carpet where the hard and soft blend together,” he adds. Highlights of the Highline include a sunning area, wooden chaise lounges, some of which roll on wheels set on old tracks, a translucent walking area, a amphitheater and all of New York to stare at! One of the pleasant results of the park is it seems almost to have been co-created by natural processes. “210 species of carefully replanted perennials, grasses, and trees intertwine” on New Yorks new playing ground with carefully restored lengths of track and a new system of concrete paths that widen and narrow at irregular intervals.” The designers built garden borders that would be blurred to allow a seamless flow between urban grit and pastoral oasis. Plantings of all sorts such as meadow grasses, wild-flowers, and small trees coexist with carefully cultivated flowerbeds and birch groves which support a sustainable landscape that not only maximizes water conservation but mitigates the surface's impact as a potential heat island.
One of the great powers and strength of the High Line lies in its ability to change our perspective without taking us very far away. Qualities often hidden when walking at street level stand out when you find yourself above it all. Amidst the confluence of pedestrian and vehicle, one can observe, reflect, be immersed and become aware, maybe receiving and observing an order and purpose in it all. Potentially inspired and contemplative thoughts are one of the Highlines most refreshing accomplishments. The Highline boasts remarkable locations and unexpected sights and sounds that shift our minds into a different kind of awareness. Feasting on New Yorks’ highly energized state while viewed from an enclosed Arcadia, one can find the Highline promotes a deepened interest in everything around and in us whilst providing an escape. These experiences and reflections bring you even closer to the endless and restless flow of humanity. The highline holds an interesting juxtaposition under its paths. That being that it represents a new Zeitgeist of New York and our culture whilst building off the past.
The Highline is public in the truest sense of the word. Public dollars helped build it in the 1930s and rebuild it in 2004. Public legislation empowers us to make it a place anyone can visit. It will be proof New York City no longer casts aside its priceless transportation infrastructure but instead creates bold new uses for these monuments to human power and ambition. The Friends of the Highline group plans to morph into a conservancy to be in a position to receive more funding. Real estate along the Highline has experienced a rise of “30 percent within the last year.” Those properties now hold some of the highest values in New York. “Lots nearby sell for more than $500 per square foot.” To attract private investment and development alongside the High Line, city planners reward developers who include public access or commercial connections in their construction plans; an example of the important role of the City to be involved in its self-promotion, health and growth. It stands as a fusion of landscape architecture and city planning. Built as a giant easement, the High Line now stands as a symbol of how New York continually reinvents itself, specifically by reconnecting people to crucial green space and to each other, a rarity of our times.
The High Line is considered to be a successful project because it provides residents and visitors with an escape, from the streets while still providing them with a connection and understanding that they are in an urban environment. The project also provides a sense of character to the ‘neighborhood’, if areas in New York can truly identify as that. “Most parks provide an escape from the city,” says Scofidio, “but this one puts you in the middle of it. It's a magical spot, where you can safely dip your toe into New York's swift current.”
Chamberlain, Lisa. 2006. "Open Space Overhead." American Planning Association 72, no. 3: 10-11. Business Source Complete.
Designing the High Line, Gansevoort Street to 30th Street. Finlay Printing, LLC 2008, 4-159.
Hiss, Tony. 2010. "DEEP TRAVEL ON THE HIGH LINE." Publishers Weekly 257, no. 17: 29-31. Business Source Complete.
Ivy, Robert. 2009. "Waterborne City." Architectural Record, October. 25. Business Source Complete.
Mirsky, Steve. 2007. "Taking Back THE HIGH LINE." American Forests 113, no. 2: 24-27. Business Source Complete.
Pearson, Clifford. October 2009. “High Line.” Architectural Record.
Ulam, Alex. 2006. "New York's High Line spurring innovative buildings and planning." Architectural Record 194, no. 6: 54. Business Source Complete.
Now I call myself a Feminist - and I am constantly needing to reminder people that means I want equal rights for "men and women." People still believe that objectification of women and stereotypes do not exist. I do not claim to know or understand much, or at least as much as I should, and please - when you read this - understand, I am trying to seek and learn the truth of the matter. period. always. It is easy to get swayed and have incorrect views which is what I am trying to avoid. So please excuse me, if I have not avoided the ignorance yet, I am trying, and it is journey that I plan to do my entire life.
What is a stereotype? How is it formed? What are we taught about women's bodies and where does that stem from?
A stereotype must have an origin, a person zero. The world is full of diversity, and culture, happenstance, time periods, religion and other factors cradle and destroy certain tendencies. We praise and ridicule certain shapes, colors and tones. & it is still alive, now, in the 21st century. I came across the
Nicki Minaj video 'Anaconda', see below, which eventually led me to all of these other findings. One thing I must remark, that is amazing with technology and the internet, is that you can really dig and find some incredible things!! I am always surprised by the things that are out there, that no one see's or looks for. Sometimes it is just that right search word that brings up this article that changes your life. I would love to figure out a way to help hone and search the internet more efficiently and effectively - as well as creatively, on a foundation of a search for knowledge.
Yup, butts. ALOT of Butts. ALOT of BOG BUTTS. Then I asked myself - why do (black) women have such big butts? And why are they known for that? Thus, sparking my deep google dive. There is so much complex colonialism, racism, darwinism and religious ideologies and jargon that make up a VERY complex argument to answer that question. As a professional skim reader, I am going to try to lay it out, and understand it myself while sifting through the complexities, as a true lazy millennial would.
So what I saw then was some of the images I have put below, and above.
What is of note is the widely held beliefs by some Europeans and European colonists in Africa, Europe and the Americas about racist ties between Africans and orangutans.
This illustrates that across European colonial and Euro-American thought, scientific racism prior to the rise of Social Darwinism already linked African bodies with apes, whether they were the "brutal savages" of the northern Cape, African-descended slaves in the US, or Africans more generally, as some of the work illustrates.
By the 19th century, European and American artists continued their association of black people with apes through comparisons of skulls, assumptions about intelligence, and Eurocentric standards of beauty and civilization.
The prognathous features of "Negroes" versus the "Caucasian" (a term that only caught on after Blumenbach popularized it, despite its lack of any scientific merit) somatic norm and comparisons of the former with apes only consolidated European and Euro-American opinions on black inferiority.
The intersections of race, gender, pseudoscience and colonialism undoubtedly run deep...
Steatopygia, pronounced stay-at-o-PIE-jia, is defined as a high degree of fat on and around the buttocks- and also the front and side of the thighs. You'll find steatopygian women all over the world, but this condition is most commonly found among the khoisan women of southern Africa.
Steatopygia is considered a sign of great beauty in their women, the zenith of femininity. There's a drawing, date unknown, but it obviously goes back a century or several, of a zaftig African woman with a most abundant behind, labelled Hotentott Venus. See below.
This is another steatopygian woman, one whom in my opinion has the aesthetic limit for butt. It's the limit of voluptuous (and I like voluptuous!), the limit of opulence before it becomes grotesque.
What is the threshold of steatopygia?
You may laugh, but there are those who would find that extremely arousing. Found in the khoisan women of southern Africa, and at Wal-Marts all over (but definitely in the southern US).
The fact is, is that these women were taunted, and taken just for their extreme fatty buttocks and were often found in carnivals and shows as "freaks". Now they are, as we see below, freaks of a different nature - of instagram and of celebrity.
As you can see Jen Selter, above, is a fitting example of the trend for bigger butts - especially in white women. Now, if you Squat, sure, but people are getting very unhealthy workout habits as well as butt implants to try to achieve and mimic that same stereotype I have been writing about above. There is such a war waged on bodies - why? It kind of makes sense, it is our beings capsule, our "temple", but when is it also a disease? Especially in the age of technologies and the computer, where are we heading with unrealistic stereotypes - and seriously - stereotypes at all!?!? If there is one thing mother nature taught us - it's that BIODIVERSITY IS LIFE! Now then, why is everyone trying to fit a mold and look the same?
So when people talk about the "perfect physique", to me, is unhealthy.
It is because they are scared. In nature, there are schools of fish to confuse the predator and try to increase their chances of survival. Now how does this relate to the modern day man and woman? To Sex, marriage and relationships? What are we afraid of and why?
Now I really don't want to say something is inherently bad, or good, but I am just sick of the modern media and culture around women's and mens physique. It is a mental disorder.
My works cited and inspiration:
An assortment of posts related to the unquenchable thirst for understanding and knowledge.