Profile Beautification

Date of Submission

Spring 2018

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Studio Arts

Project Advisor 1

Kenji Fujita

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Artist Statement

How do we identify with vulnerable characters on the Internet? Do we change our perception of what is ugly to feel more comfortable with ourselves? How do historical references to ugly characteristics inform beauty trends today? Is there anything that needs to be fixed? When thinking critically about race, gender, stereotypes, cultural distinctiveness and cultural norms, what do we do with beauty? I am currently working on a series of videos that engages YouTube’s social platform. In my research I have come across the platform dominated by beauty gurus that consistently create content dependent on trends, exciting personal stories, and physical, often cosmetic transformations. For me, and many others of my generation, YouTube was a way for us to explore our identity. Comically, the work explores facets of the Jewish experience while also reflecting universal, societal issues of stereotyping and beauty taboos, like Jewish big noses, pulling on historical references to “ugly” characteristics, from Lavater’s philosophy, to Nazi propaganda posters, to Andy Warhol’s Before and After.

I portray on my YouTube channel a feminine persona that is in itself an institutional critique, exposing a potentially broken system while paradoxically and expressly implicating a desire to be validated by that very system. This blurs the line between the identity of the artist and the persona. The green screen, conceptually, allows for projection of opinion. Consumer culture is also particularly illuminated on the channel; exposing the intentions of the online personalities with a “you need this to improve” mentality for views, ever-lasting admiration, and monetary compensation by cosmetic companies. This character, ugly and desperate, just wants to be watched. The figure, through satire and pastiche, serves as a vehicle to explore these serious subjects. The work is shaped by the dissonant desire to destroy and become, by public online transformation, by exploring makeup as a fine art form, by the personalities that shape a younger generation, by the raw data available on the popular platform for misuse, and by notions of beauty that contradict but are also evolving. The impressionable beauty guru is its own gender and is constantly metamorphosing publically, with beauty as the belief system or beauty as its own ideology. It seems that my project can be found by viewers late at night, perusing the dark corners of YouTube looking for videos that come up with similar tags or titles such as #nonsurgicalrhinoplasty, #kyliejennerlips, or #nosecontour.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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