samples - you girl!


4. YOU Girl!

by Carmin Karasic and Rolf van Gelder


This artwork and humann both use similar interactive technologies. The hairdo and posture sections of YOU Girl! use live webcam images, and humann uses live video images. Both use Flash applications to 'cut and paste' the viewer's image into mirrored reflections of either immediate or global surroundings.

The 1960 Wendy Ward Charm School workbook is reconstructed in the YOU Girl! website. YOU Girl! shows how the book's narrative works to establish impossible 'Beauty Ideals' and vulnerability in feminine Identity.

Mass media advertising sustains the worldwide communication infrastructure. Media messages present a relentless hyperreality that can never be attained but must always be sought. Consider the unavoidable beauty myth1, which defines physical appearance, behavior and clothing. We continually measure ourselves against constructed ideals that control our value systems. People who have the potential to fit the ideal have even greater social pressures than people who could not possibly fit the ideal2. We are being programmed by 'media code'. YOU Girl! encourages physically conforming to absurd demands based on hyperreal models of perfection. The gap between healthful information and absurdity is intentionally obscured to get people to ask, "Is this real or a joke? Is the artist serious or not?" YOU Girl! is ambiguous and makes use of external hyperlinks that exit the project, thereby mixing it with myriads of ‘real’ websites.

A successful piece of my art forces a reevaluation of one’s initial belief system through the aesthetics of confusion. My art projects consciously examine the consequences of representation based on simulation within our 'cut & paste' contemporary life. This technology-based intervention is inherently self-referential because technology and technical contexts are embedded in contemporary life. My projects mimic authentic narratives while disrupting or inverting assumptions, so that technology may be exposed as an amenity that can be beneficial or not. As technology relentlessly hastens the rate of information remix, one must always consider your own interpretation of information, the delivery context, and the information source.

YOU Girl
"YOU Girl!" screengrab: section from Habits of Beauty page

1Wolf, Naomi. (2002) The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. Reprint edition. New York: HarperCollins.

2Orenstein, Peggy. (1995) "Split Loyalties: Homegirl vs. Schoolgirl" in Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence Gap, 159. New York: Anchor.

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