One day, I'll have a swan dress to call my own.
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— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (via fucknosexistcostumes)
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A series of self portraits that deal with the body as an object while exploring constructed notions of gender through form and color.
just posting some of my work up
Adrian Piper, ‘Cornered’, 1988
Cornered (1988) consists of a single video monitor which is wedged into a corner of the gallery behind an overturned table. The monitor is flanked by two birth certificates one identifying Piper’s father as white and the other as black (octoroon). Piper herself appears on the monitor, addressing viewers casually and quietly. Her own ambiguous racial identity, which confounds stereotypes due to Piper’s light skin and self–described “bourgie, junior-miss” style of dress, serves as a basis for Piper’s rigorously argued, deconstructive analysis that calls into question not only her own apparent racial identity, but the viewer’s as well.
To Piper, racial identity in biological terms is less important than what we “do about it” in social and cultural terms. Thus, after informing “white” viewers of the likelihood that, according to genetic statistics and entrenched conventions of racial classification, they are actually black, Piper presents a number of behavioural options. For example:
"Are you going to research your family ancestry, to find out whether you are among the white ‘elite’? Or whether perhaps a mistake has been made, and you and your family are, after all, among the black majority?
"And what are you going to do if a mistake has been made? Are you going to tell your friends, your colleagues, your employer that you are in fact black, not white, as everyone had supposed? Or will you try to discredit the researchers who made this estimate in the first place."
In conclusion Piper says, "If I choose to identify myself as black whereas you do not," "that’s not just a special, personal fact about me. It’s a fact about us. It’s our problem to solve."
While provoking the viewer’s awareness of his or her own role in perpetuating ideologies of racial difference, Piper reminds us that the power of such ideologies to determine a person’s identity cuts both ways. The white population’s impulse to define—and therefore separate—blackness, for instance, can be seen as an attempt to define whiteness itself by exclusion.