The final project title stems from the dichotomy of the two terms ‘nude’ and ‘naked’. In reading Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ I found that these terms mean more than the body undressed. The ‘nude’ refers to the bare body as a form of art whereas the term ‘naked’ can be portrayed onto a whole manner of things, which can have nothing to do with the human body but everything to do with the human mind. The project’s focus, therefore, is the understanding of vulnerability. I enjoy making the viewer a part of my work and creating an immersive experience. There are psychological qualities within my work and my focus is towards challenging how people think, including myself.

I began reading George Orwell’s 1984 which led me to become interested in the concept of ‘Big Brother’. I started thinking about the purposes of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and the reasons for its use in public. CCTV can be perceived as being used for our protection but this creates no boundaries for privacy. However, CCTV cameras are not placed in public toilets or changing rooms; is this for our privacy and possibly protection? It seems legitimate but ironic. Toilets are a place for natural bodily functions that are common to everyone and yet can be seen as embarrassing. Walking in on someone in the loo can be an awkward situation which can also create a sense of vulnerability for the person walked in on. This is similar to changing rooms. Getting dressed and undressed, actions that people do twice a day on average, are awkward and can sometimes be humorous. For example, attempting to pull tights or jeans on. If someone was accidentally caught at this point of changing, parties involved have the potential to feel embarrassed, self-conscious and uncomfortable. This is if the people in this scenario were acquaintances, or they were not accustomed to being open around the human body, or the situation was unexpected. As soon as one person becomes more comfortable around another person, a bond is secured and trust is formed. The ability to be yourself occurs and you may be open with these situations where you are at your most vulnerable.

 

The term ‘I feel naked’ can be projected onto a whole manner of issues without having anything to do with being physically naked. It is a feeling, the same as vulnerability.

 

In this case the project is more about the feelings of being vulnerable which is where the CCTV comes into play; to capture the reactions to the piece and challenge the viewers’ perceptions. There will probably be a sense of vulnerability within the viewers as well as within the finished sculpture.

 

I was asked, ‘why not a live person, a performer?’. The project could be seen as a social experiment, I enjoy making the viewer a part of my work, creating an immersive experience and challenging people’s views of the world around them (including myself). When thinking about the piece in its entirety, I have had to assume what viewers’ reactions will be. If the ‘nude’ was a living performer, able to move and interact and feel more than anything, how would they be perceived? I believe the viewer would exclaim embarrassment and very British apologies and walk out. However, the piece is supposed to challenge their ideologies. The realisation that the ‘nude’ is not living and is a static sculpture that cannot feel emotion or judgement is the reaction I want to see. Will people feel comfortable to look more closely? And why would you not do that with a living person? I am interested in learning from my work, learning about people and their differences in reaction.

Naked Homeware

 © 2020 by Sam Dawood

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