Archive for 14 agosto 2010

Bodybuilders (2008) – Joachim Ladefoged

14 agosto, 2010

Ladefoged took a mixture of black and white and colour photography at the Danish Bodybuilding Championship in 2001 and similar events in the ensuing years, underexposing the subjects to make them appear darker still. The resulting snaps are assembled in a book, Mirror (the title a nod to his models’ narcissism) published in 2008. The Independent.

“For me, personally, these people are all strangely photogenic,” he says. “Bodybuilding is like theatre in many ways. The tan -which they use to cast shadows across their muscles, so they can be picked out easily on stage- makes them look haunting, or like they are from another planet. This is the case with the women especially, whose fake breasts are, funnily enough, the only way you can tell them apart from the men”.

“I thought their eyes told a story”

Shit for thought

6 agosto, 2010

The unsurpassed master of such analysis was Claude Lévi-Strauss, for whom food preparation also serves as “food for thought”. The three main modes of food preparation (raw, baked, boiled) function as a semiotic triangle: we use them to symbolize the basic opposition of (“raw”) nature and (“baked”) culture, as well as the mediation between two opposites (in the procedure of boiling) (…) As a supplement to Lévi-Strauss, one is thus tempted to propose that shit can also serve as “food for thought”: the three basic types of toilet-design in the West form a kind of excremental counterpoint to the Lévi-Strauss triangle of cooking. In a traditional German toilet, the hole in which shit disappears after we flush water is way up front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff at and inspect for traces of any illness; in the typical French toilet the hole is far to the back, so that shit may disappear as soon as possible; finally, the American toilet presents a kind of synthesis, a mediation between these two opposed poles – the toilet basin is fool of water, so that the shit floats in it, visible, but not to be inspected. No wonder that, in the famous discussion of different European toilets at the beginning of her half-forgotten Fear of Flying, Erica Jong mockingly claims that “German toilets are really the key to the horrors of the Third Reich. People who can build toilets like this are capable of anything.”

(El maestro indiscutible de este tipo de análisis fue Claude Lévi-Strauss, para el que la comida también sirve como “comida para el pensamiento”. Las tres maneras principales de preparar los alimentos (crudos, horneados, hervidos) funcionan como un triángulo semiótico: los usamos para simbolizar la oposición básica entre (“crudo”) naturaleza y (“horneado”) cultura, al igual que el término medio entre los dos contrarios (en el proceso de hervir).(…) Como suplemento a Lévi-Strauss, es tentador proponer que la caca también puede servir como “comida para el pensamiento”: los tres tipos básicos de diseños de inodoros occidentales constituyen una especie de contrapunto excremental al triángulo culinario de Lévi-Strauss. En el inodoro tradicional alemán, el hueco por el que desaparece la caca al bajar la cisterna se halla delante, de modo que ésta se encuentra en un primer momento ante nosotros para ser olida e inspeccionada en busca de alguna enfermedad; en el típico inodoro francés, por el contrario, el hueco se localiza en la parte posterior para que la caca desaparezca lo antes posible; por último, el inodoro americano nos presenta una especie de combinación, un punto medio entre esos polos opuestos: la taza del inodoro está llena de agua, con lo cual la caca flota, visible, pero no para ser inspeccionada. No es extraño que, en la famosa discusión sobre los distintos inodoros europeos al principio de su semiolvidado Miedo a volar, Erica Jong afirme irónicamente que “los inodoros alemanes son la verdadera clave de los horrores del Tercer Reich. Quienes son capaces de construir inodoros como éstos son capaces de cualquier cosa.” )

Slavoj Zizek, (How to read)  Lacan, London, 2006.