Dunne and Raby: Critical Design-led Research

In my previous post, ‘Initial Project Ideas’ I noted that each contained an element of Critical Design, especially the Instagram Posts and Posters which I am currently experimenting with. However, I was told about Dunne and Raby in a tutorial with Anne-Marie, and wanted to see how they carry out work as practitioners, and how this in return relates to my practice.

Critical Design is when “design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies.”

Anthony and Fiona, commonly know as Dunne and Raby, are both Professors, Authors and Designers and have worked featured in galleries across the world, such as MoMA in NYC and The Design Museum in London.

What does Critical Design mean?

“Critical Design uses speculative design proposals to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions and givens about the role products play in everyday life. It is more of an attitude than anything else, a position rather than a method. There are many people doing this who have never heard of the term critical design and who have their own way of describing what they do. Naming it Critical Design is simply a useful way of making this activity more visible and subject to discussion and debate.” (Dunne and Raby, 2007)

Work Example:

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The following extract is taken from: Weeds, Aliens and Other Stories, 1994-98

Dunne & Raby / Michael Anastassiades

“Weeds Aliens and Other Stories is a collection of psychological furniture for the home and garden. The project grew out of a deep dissatisfaction with the narrow range of psychological needs met by furniture. How many more chairs, tables and shelving units do we need in the world?

Weeds Aliens and Other Stories began as a sketchbook of drawings and ideas exploring the English obsession with the garden and seemingly irrational relationships between people and their plants. We wanted to encourage people to play out their eccentricities within their urban homes, homes with very little or no garden at all. These unacknowledged behaviours become legitimised through new types of furniture.

  • Garden Horn: A device for speaking to plants that otherwise might be neglected.
  • Meeting: A piece of indoor furniture to grow and look after; a place to meet and make up when lovers become neighbours.
  • Talking Tabs: Labels for reciting poems or recipes to plants.
  • Cricket Box: A drawer for collecting garden sounds.
  • Intensive Care: Communication with demanding plants anywhere, anytime.
  • Cucumber Table: A device for containing, growing, straigtening and displaying cucumbers.
  • Rustling Branch: Sounds replace appearances; an alternative to the vase.
  • Reserved: Seating to be shared with flowers.

Fabrication: Ben Legg
Technical advice: Rick Thomas, Mark Bullimore, Jon Rogers
Sound design: Jayne Roderick
Photography: Salvatore Vinci
Thanks to: Andre Cooke, The British Council Window Gallery Prague, Mark Daniels, Northern Architecture, Northern Arts, Sophie Smallhorn, Robin Blackledge, and Claire Catterall

The project is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.”

I chose to look at this example being drawn in by the use of photography as this still remains a dominant form of visual within both beauty and fashion industries, be on social media or in magazines and made me think how as well as illustrations and other forms of graphic design, how photography could somehow be used as a Critical Design-led research method in order to spark discussion around the research topic at hand.

It also allowed me to reflect on how even though I have used only illustrations to date, the same concept behind the form of research is prominent similarly to Dunne and Raby’s work in regards to gaining peoples attention in order to make them think, and ultimately engage in discussion or debate. However, I feel now knowing more about their background, their work and methods using forms such as video, photography, installation and sometimes illustration also, I feel I will be able to apply this knowledge going forward to further pieces of work. In addition, the benefit of collaborating with other interdisciplinary artists and creatives is evident allowing for various forms of work to be created including a wide range of conceptual projects and writings, sharing skill sets, ideas and knowledge. This is also something I would like to introduce into my practice in order to generate new ideas and informed conversation.

Sources:
http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/projects/74/0 Last Accessed: 13th October 2016
http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/bydandr/13/0  Last Accessed: 2nd December 2016

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Recent Advances in Technologies within the Fashion Industry: H&M and CG Models

This is working towards objective 1.

Whilst researching technological advances within the Fashion Industry in regards to body image and self-perception, I came across one particular technology which I saw as a negative, but a possible positive in some respects, which I shall discuss below.

H&M in 2011 were found to be using computer generated models and photoshopping ‘real models’ heads on to the bodies, changing skin tones to create diversity and match accordingly. However, H&M may of gone unnoticed as a global organisation breaking the boundaries within the industry on what is ethically and socially right to do as a brand, if they had not only used one pose throughout the entirety of their website and catalogue at the time.

An H&M spokesman explained to Adweek that, “for our Shop Online we are using a combination of real-life models’ pictures, still-life pictures, and virtual mannequin pictures. For all other marketing and campaigns—outdoor, TV, print, and other media—H&M will continue to use real-life models.”

This can be seen visually below.

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What I found most disturbing about this was how slim the models are. An International brand with huge amounts of influential power on the high-street chose to portray their ‘ideal’ women as a super skinny runway model-esk figure, opposed to seeing an opportunity to create perhaps a figure based on todays average woman, or a range of bodies showcasing different ‘normal’ figures if they feel the need to chose CGI over real-life models. Why did such a brand feel the need to go down this route to promote their clothing and accessory products? Perhaps this is for quicker turn around within the design and work involved in constantly updating an ecommerce site and a catalogue. Regardless of the reason, the impact can be damaging – especially if this was to catch on throughout the industry.

Adweek suggest that complaints have been made regarding these computer generated models, stating that the “stepford model ideal” promoted is not attainable nor correctly proportioned. Regardless of the ‘image which H&M have gone for with their new models, no two people look the same, and even if H&M used very slim real-life models, this would paint a better picture of the standardisation of women opposed to promoting the idea of ‘clones’ to women.

Furthermore, the online magazine site Jezebel, reported that H&M have also used computer generated models which upon close inspection actually have no faces. Whether this is a mistake a not, it proves that technologies cannot be relied on and that using real models would be more reliable in this respect.

This is evidenced in the photos shown below, whilst also being able to see quite clearly how poorly the CGIs have been put together in regards to photo manipulation, specifically shadows as shown below, enhancing the fact that this is in fact not a real person.

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Sources:
http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/hm-under-fire-putting-models-heads-perfect-cgi-bodies-136974, Last Accessed: 13th October 2016
http://jezebel.com/5824561/new-hm-catalog-features-model-with-no-face, Last Accessed: 13th October 2016

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Further Instagram Blogging Posts

This is working towards objective 4.A and 1.

Following up on my previous post showing the initial posts I had shared on Instagram from the past couple of weeks, I wanted to follow this up with the most recent set of posts.

In addition to sharing these digital posts, I have also been sharing the screen-printing experiments via my Instagram platform to engage active members of the target audience to connect, comment or like in order for me to gain further insight to analyse over time, whilst also seeing which aesthetic my target audience prefer, allowing for this to be applied going forwards in order to gain the largest reach to share the message and findings of my research questions.

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The caption for this particular post was: “When society tells you how to be, how to look, how to be as a person.. brands reinforce their power, redesign their packaging to sell those ideas” enforcing that ideas of brand culture, the power of advertising and also the power of packaging design which is becoming much more important in the saturated beauty market in order to make both new and existing products stand out.

With the boom of the ‘brow trend’, brands have very quickly caught on to this trend and engagement and have since very quickly released new and existing products as part of a new range to entice even more individuals into the cosmetics world, showing their power, and also highlighting the sheepishness of the consumer market.

This particular post has been designed using digital illustration in order to gain a recognisable and realistic CAD design opposed to being a flat vector, contrasting some of my previous posts slightly, whilst also being re creations of real products allowing for brand specific messaged to be relayed.

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This post, again echoes what has been noted above, whilst also adding another post related to the ‘Kylie Cosmetics’ range as also noted through a previous design. Again using a CAD style of illustration and a tongue-in-chic tone of voice, Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits have been re-drawn showcasing how synonymous her name is with her products, logo, and packaging. ‘Bebas Neue’ is the font which Kylie Cosmetics uses for both branding and packaging design and therefore has also been used allowing for instant recognisability and visual connection with the viewer.

The product name however has been changed to “WHAT’S MY NAME AGAIN?” being inspired by the cultural icon of Kylie Jenner and the idea that when you become so famous and so recognisable you lose your identity and become a commodity. I feel this is extremely resonant with Jenner reaching out into the cosmetics market, and dominating it via social media platform Instagram, therefore being natural to include it in this exploratory project.

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The post above was tagged with the caption, “How many of you would say that about yourselves when you look in the mirror? You are beautiful. Have confidence and forget what the media tells you to look like”, in order to showcase the importance of vanity in the digital age, and to also empower women to believe in themselves and spark thought about the way that they perceive themselves.

This post features simply typography, and a subtle illustration allowing for a further visual link between posts. Typography has been used in such solitary format in order to relay a message in a way whereby the viewer is instantly impacted by the question they are faced, provoking thought.

Posts on Instagram:

Below shows the above posts in context. I have also shown some comments which I received in regards to feedback, as well as the hashtags used to engage with the Instagram community which I am currently trailing and testing out to see what gives the best reach and engagement. Positive feedback also allows me to see that the subject matter and visuals are being received well and having a positive impact, which also affirming the idea of critical-design as used by Dunne and Raby (2007) allowing for such posts to mock assumptions and preconceptions of how one is told to look and be by the media, therefore highlighting such issue in an indirect way.

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Selfie Culture: The Importance of Selfies within Social Media Cultures

This is working towards objective 1.

It is noted by some such as Rizzoli, that Kim Kardashian is the “trailblazer” and almost icon of the “selfie movement” which we are currently living within the rise of digital technologies and social media. Therefore, I have noted two books, ‘Selish’ by Kim Kardashian and ‘Capture Your Style’ by Fashion Blogger/Vlogger Aimee Song. Both represent this movement and the power of it, and therefore direct how to do it well in order to turn “an Instagram hobby into a successful business” as Song notes in a manner which would make any active and engaging Instagram users believe that it is also possible for them also with the right ‘look’ and image. Not only that but Song actively encourages her readers and followers to carefully edit their photographs to achieve the perfect addition to their carefully curated Instagram feed. This can also be seen in a video below. I found the video very interesting in the sense that Aimee is very controlling in the way others take photos of her, ensuring she is perceived in a particular, and controlled way therefore obviously being very aware of her body image and self-perception, especially in regards to what angles are used to take ‘the best photos’. This confirms how obsessive this form of photography, where by through taking our own photos – selfies – or directing the shoots of our own portraits, we are in full control in a narcissistic sense of what we are showing the public.

I have also noted these two books in my initial plan for my Professional Context presentation, looking at how these cultural, blogger and celebrity influences are impacting on our body image through their use of social media.

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Selfish by Kim Kardashian
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“The selfie photography of Kim Kardashian West, featuring many never-before-seen personal images from one of the most recognizable and iconic celebrities in the world. From her early beginnings as a wardrobe stylist, Kim Kardashian West has catapulted herself into becoming one of the most recognizable celebrities in Hollywood. Hailed by many (including Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci) as the modern-day personification of Marilyn Monroe, Kim has become a true American icon. With her curvaceous style, successful reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, DASH clothing store, makeup and perfume lines, she has acquired a massive fan following in the multi-millions. Through social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), Kim connects with her fans on a daily basis, sharing details of her life with her selfie photography. Widely regarded as a trailblazer of the “selfie movement”—a modern-day self-portrait of the digital age—Kim has mastered the art of taking flattering and highly personal photos of oneself. For the first time in print, this book presents some of Kim’s favorite selfies in one volume—from her favorite throwback images to current ultra-sexy glam shots—and provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look into this larger-than-life star.”
– Rizzoli

Noted Reviews:
“The first lady of #fame – the 100 Most Influential People” –Time Magazine

“Kim Kardashian already broke the internet. Now she’s poised to break the best-seller lists. . . . It’s easy to mock – indeed, the title almost does it for you – but this seemingly throw-away collection may end up being just as much a part of pop-art history as when Andy Warhol painted soup cans.” –Daily News

“Kim Kardashian is the queen of selfies, and she’s planning to make sure everyone knows it in her upcoming book, Selfish.” –MTV News

“Now there’s a book cover if we’ve ever seen one! . . . this book is obviously made for her biggest fans. Not to mention it includes previously unseen selfies!” –USA Today

“Kim Kardashian can take a selfie anywhere, and we mean anywhere!” –E! News

“In her new coffee-table book, Selfish, the reality star documents nine years of her life in selfies – some seen by millions, others revealed for the first time.” –Harper’s Bazaar

“Now you can get between the covers with her— hardcovers, that is. With more than 400 pages of intimate snaps (including bikini selfies, lingerie selfies and, yes, several nude selfies), flipping through her new photo book Selfish, published by art-house giant Rizzoli, feels like scrolling through a fabulously rich and beautiful friend’s well-curated smartphone.” –Playboy Magazine

“As they say, you have to love yourself first! After months of anticipation (and just a touch of eye-rolling), Kim Kardashian’s selfie-filled coffee table book, aptly entitled Kim Kardashian’s Selfish, [has] finally arrive[d].” –US Weekly

“Kim Kardashian has joined the ranks of Giacometti, da Vinci, Lichtenstein, O’Keeffe, and just about every other revered artist of any era: she, too, now has a Rizzoli-published book devoted to her work at the forefront of an artistic movement. Indeed, Rizolli notes that she’s ‘widely regarded as a trailblazer of the ‘selfie movement.’” –Flavorwire.com

“Treat your coffee table to a 300-page collection of Kim’s best selfies . . . ” –People Magazine

“[Kim K’s] the queen of the selfie. And her soon-to-be released hardcover book . . . should be all the evidence she’ll need to maintain that throne.” –CR Fashion Book

“Attention all Kim Kardashian fans – here’s the E! star as you’ve never seen her before! . . . aptly dubbed Selfish . . . [the images] definitely don’t disappoint.” –E! Online 

“As it stands, Kim Kardashian West holds the title for most Instagram followers (at 30 million) just behind the platform’s own account (at 60 million). An average Kim K selfie garners upwards of 650,000 likes with her wedding photo receiving 2.5 million likes. With all that in mind, there’s no question that Kim’s controversial new book, Selfie, is going to fly off the shelves.” –V Magazine

“From her favorite throwback images to current ultra-sexy glam shots, Selfish will provide readers with a behind-the-scenes look into Kardashian’s life.” –In Style Magazine

http://www.rizzoliusa.com/book.php?isbn=9780789329202, Last accessed: 12th October 2016

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Capture Your Style by Aimee Song
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“Oh. My. Gosh. You guys, I can’t believe it’s finally time to tell you this… I wrote a book! I’ve been blogging for about eight years now and in that time I’ve gotten to go all around the world to the most beautiful destinations and attend events I dreamed of when I was younger. A huge part of those experiences and my success as an influencer has been documenting them on Instagram. That’s what this book is all about–how to showcase your life through beautiful photos on Instagram.

Why should you want it? Instagram is so much more than a platform for pretty pictures. It’s the fastest-growing social media network with an engaged community, a major marketing tool for brands, a place where Beyoncé drops her albums, and a hub where products can be bought with a simple double tap. Including everything from fashion, travel, food, décor, and more, I’m giving you insider tips on curating a gorgeous feed and growing an audience.

Inside, you’ll learn ways to craft your voice and story on Instagram: all about how to edit your photos using the best apps and filters, how to prop and style food and fashion photos, how to gain more followers, and secrets behind building a top Instagram brand, transforming an Instagram hobby into a successful business.”
– Aimee Song, Song of Style

http://www.songofstyle.com/2016/05/wrote-book-called-capture-style.html

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Questions raised through Research

Below shows a list of questions which I have raised and noted whilst undertaking research, writing my project plans and mapping out my first Professional Context presentation in relation to my practice and my research question, “How do Magazines and Social Media within the Fashion and Beauty Industries, affect our sense of body image and self-perception?” I have realised that by logging these questions I am then able to assess which research methods can be used to try and find answers, whilst helping to direct topics of research going forward.

Questions raised:

How does this ever-lasting stream of so-called ‘ideals’, ‘perfection’, bloggers/vloggers and social media ‘famous’ affect our own ideas of our body image and self-perception?

Does this form of media affect us and influence us in a different way to magazines?

Is this due to content on social media in comparison to magazines?

Do people still read magazines and see them as a form of influence, or are we more enticed by social media for quick access and ease?

Who, or what within the Fashion and Beauty industries is the most influential in regards to our body image and self-perception?

What culture and history, for example are we missing out on as a society are we missing out on if we are forever taking photos of ourselves, rather than taking photos of our surroundings and those who we are with?

Is our self-indulgence taking away pleasure in our experiences?

Our we sourcing locations to take photographs for our social media accounts, or are we sourcing locations to take in what is there?

How do we feel if we cannot recreate or maintain that “flawless” look achieved through makeup apps?

How do these technologies add to the debates amongst body image and self-perception within a world which is becoming more narcissistic, controlling and standardised?

How does Western culture influence body image and self-perception in other countries due to the accessibility of celebrity culture, bloggers/vloggers, social media and the idea of the standardisation of beauty?

Do we have to look a certain way now to appeal to the opposite sex?

What do men think about the rise of beauty trends and fads?

What do they think of current ‘icons’ such as Kim Kardashian for example whom influence the looks and perceptions of women so much?

Do males and females feel differently about these issues?

How does the pressure to look a certain way, and the pressure to brand ourselves in someway affect our sense of self-perception and body image?

How do the streams of constant selfies and ‘perfect photography affect our sense of self-perception and body image?

How does instantly mimicking ‘the looks of others affect our sense of self-perception and beauty?

Are we more likely to try and change our appearance permanently through liking the results of edited photos more than what we see in the mirror?

Is this due to the over-exposure of Western models, magazines and social media platforms?

How does this affect the ‘everyday woman’ in Japan, her self-perception and purchases/activities?

Brands with power such as H&M, have the ability to digitally create any shape model – how does their chosen model correlate to their target audience and demographic?

How do these occurances within the fashion industry affect body image and
self-perception issues of the consumer?

Brand reputation, awareness and policies/ethics.

How was this campaign recieved by consumers and the target audience alike?

Could this way of showcasing items of clothing help with diversity issues in regards to body image if used in a different way?

Should we as women conform and look at a certain way?

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Article: Kylie Jenner for Complex

This is working towards objective 1.

Tonight I saw online that Kylie Jenner was trending in the news on Social Media platforms. Through further investigation I found the article which caused such an online uproar. As I have been currently working on prints for initial project development inspired by Kylie’s makeup line, Kylie Cosmetics, I found this article extremely interesting and relevant to my research question and current practice.

The article discusses Kylie Jenner’s famous lip fillers, which may or may not have started the boom with this trend. I found her to be honest, open and almost sorry that she is famous, wanting to be normal and do normal things without the pressure of being followed by paparazzi or having to maintain a certain standard of lifestyle and image. With Jenner’s social media power and influence, she has become a digital sensation with everybody knowing her name, and as a result it is evident through this article that this alone has changed her self-perception feeling the need to comply to feel attractive and be deemed attractive by others.

It is also worth noting that Jenner recognises how her actions could influence others in a negative way, being conscious of her actions. However, on the contrary, it is interesting to think as noted below in the article extracts, that Jenner has built a name for herself through how she looks via her social media platforms, and has built her ‘beauty’ business around her through the power of her ‘full lips’ alone, which evidently is contradictory to several of the points she raises. This is a prime example of using what she is known for and recognised for as a base to promote her fame, name and products even further engaging with consumer culture.

I also found this article quite resonating of the conversation noted with Samantha Ravndahl, and how as a beauty blogger/vlogger the industry and social media has affected her self-perception (noted on a separate blog post).

I have noted selected key points and quotes raised in the article below, highlighting points which I feel are extremely important and relevant to unpicking and understanding my research question.

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“At press time, Jenner had 71.7 million followers on Instagram and 17.6 million on Twitter. In 2014, she was named one of the most influential teens by TIME, and dubbed the most famous Kardashian by outlets like Us Weekly, Bloomberg, and Business Insider.”

“But unlike Kim, whose initial claims to fame were a sex tape and reality TV, Kylie is a new kind of celebrity: one whose stardom is fueled primarily by the image she portrays on social media. That fame—along with the Kardashian-Jenner name, of course—has opened many doors for her. She has collaborated with Sinful Colors on a nail polish collection, and is the owner of a successful cosmetics line, Kylie Cosmetics, which produces her wildly popular Lip Kits and other products. She and her sister Kendall, 20, have designed a line for clothing brand PacSun; launched their own apparel and accessories label, Kendall + Kylie (sold at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue); and partnered with app publisher Glu on their own mobile game. Kylie also created a self-titled paid app, which offers her fans exclusive access into her life via videos, behinds-the-scenes pics, and more; it’s one of the 10 top-grossing entertainment apps in the U.S. In February, she became the latest face of Puma.”

“Jenner has built her fame on sharing her life on Instagram and Snapchat, but she’s also careful to keep big parts of it secret. “I don’t sit around and stare at my cars and Snapchat them,” she says. “That’s what people think I do, but there’s a big part of my life that I don’t like to show. I’m ‘Kylie Jenner’ to the world, but I’m just ‘Kylie’ to my friends and family.”

“In 2014, Jenner faced one of her most acute controversies when rumors began circulating that she had received lip injections. Jenner was pressed about the topic in nearly every interview. At first, she denied the rumors and insisted her lips looked plumper because of makeup. Then, in a 2015 episode of KUWTK, she finally copped to getting filler injections when she was 16.”

“It has been an insecurity of mine all my life,” she says now. It all started when she was in middle school. “This guy I kissed was like, ‘Your lips are really small but you’re a really good kisser. I didn’t think you were gonna be good at kissing,’” she remembers, crossing her arms and hunching over. The conversation obviously makes her uncomfortable. “It was so rude. From then on, I just felt like I saw guys staring at my lips. I felt like no one wanted to kiss me.”

She lied about the fillers because, at the time, she thought it was the right thing to do. “I wasn’t even 17 yet,” she says. “What if I came out and said, ‘Oh, yeah, I got my lips done’? What are all those moms going to think about me? These kids, my fans, they’re going to think I’m crazy. I didn’t want to be a bad influence. I didn’t want people to think you had to get your lips done to feel good about yourself. But they thought it was crazier that I was lying about it because it was so obvious. I wish I had just been honest and upfront.”

Jenner admits that she got carried away with the injections. “When you first get them done, you’re like, ‘Oh, it could be a little bit bigger on that side.’ I’d go back and be like, ‘They went down’ and think they could be bigger. But I went too far. It was very painful.”

Jenner still gets the injections but says she doesn’t go overboard anymore, noting that she never had permanent plastic surgery. “It’s annoying to hear every day that you’re just this fake, plastic person when you’re not. Every single day there was a news story about me.”

“She agreed to appear on Keeping Up With the Kardashians when she was nine years old, but says her family had no idea how massive they—or the show—were going to become. Looking back, she’s not entirely sure she made the right decision. “If someone told me how big it was going to be, I probably would’ve had a second thought about it,” she says. “I don’t want to be ‘Kylie Jenner.’ It’s become a job more than who I am. I don’t even want to be that person anymore.”

– Written by Karizza Sanchez
– Photographs by Sasha Samsonova
– Artwork by Takashi Murakami

The full article can be found on Complex’s website, here.

 

http://uk.complex.com/pop-culture/kylie-jenner-interview-2016-cover-story, Last Accessed: 12th October 2016

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Initial Screen-Printing Experiments

This is working towards objective 4.C.

For my initial screen-printing experiments which make up part of my “Social Media Posts and Poster” Project as noted below, I chose to select this particular post to experiment with.

I wanted to test different colours and inks to see what the best method of print (digital or traditional) is in regards to outcome and commerciality, in order to take a selected few further for development whilst acting as pieces of critical-design led research via engaging with the active target audience mocking preconceived assumptions, expectations and ideas.

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“This post is essentially a satirical, mocking and sarcastic response to the instantly recognisable drippy lip icon which Kylie Jenner uses to symbolise her ‘Lip Kits’. The concept of this was perceiving the packaging design and iconography as how we should use the product without prior knowledge of cosmetics, responding to a world and community where individuals are so guided and influenced by visuals, therefore assuming that everyone is aware of these products, brands and uses.”

Below shows a range of photographs documenting the screen-printing process. The colours chosen initially to work with were Flesh Colour for the Lips, Metallic Gold, Gloss Red and Black. For this, red acrylic paint was mixed with Spot Varnish in order to contrast with the matte lips and typography. The same thought process was behind this with the gold – not only to add a different dimension to the print in regards to the effects produced digitally, but to associate with the “Kylie Cosmetics” and target audience also.

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Whilst printing the Red Lips as shown above, I realised that I had not accounted for leakage around the edges of the screen leaving bleed marks as shown above. I also found it quite difficult to align the lipstick drips to the lips as I set-up the print bed with the main print to the back of the screen. I found that I was wasting quite a lot of time and prints trying to sort out the slight miss alignments – also shown above. When I began to set the screen up for the gold prints, I sealed the edges to avoid leakage and bleed, and also set up the print-bed backwards to ensure the print I was working on first was closest to the front. I hoped after spending so much time to resolve the issues printing initially that the gold versions would work out better.

I found by having the print closer to me, I was able to align the remainder of the prints correctly, however the metallic gold ink came out quite transparent allowing for a gold sheen to be applied, opposed to a block of colour. I wasn’t overly keen on how this looks as didn’t feel it was as strong visually as the digital versions. I also felt that the prints as a whole looked very flat due to a lack of background colour or tone within the colours used for the lips for example.

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A3 Poster Prints and A6 Postcards were produced as shown below.

I do feel though however that even though the screen-printing process was enjoyable, it may not be the best form of print to take forward throughout my practice and development due to be so time consuming and limiting in regards to the amount of experiments I’d like to carry out surrounding this particular Social Media Post and Poster project.

In comparison to the breadth and amount of work, effects and variety which can be achieved digitally in the same time, I found with my ideas for on-going posts it makes more sense visually and logically to continue producing digital varieties. I also feel that I can produce more impactful results digitally, and furthermore I can target the ‘digital age’ of active social media users, via digital posts, which I feel will be very beneficial in regards to targeting the right audience and receiving the right feedback through my critical-design led posts.

In addition, the variety of posts which I have ‘posted’ on Instagram over the past week would not all allow for easy translatable designs which could be screen printed to the same ‘glossy’ effect, as I have included and shown to date through variety of CAD designs.

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Taking this onwards, I am hoping to work digitally producing a further range of experimental prints and posts which can feed into both the Poster Project and also the zine, which again I feel by working digitally will be more in tune with the chosen target audience for such projects. I would also like to continue working with a critical-design approach.

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Article: “Be Realistic! How Technology Affects Your Perception of Beauty”, By Dr. Robert Tornambe

This is working towards objective 1.

“How can women, young or not, aspire to look like modern-day role models when the role models themselves don’t even look like their photos?”

Whilst researching the surrounding contexts of the recent technological developments within the Beauty industry and how this can in turn effect our self-perception, I came across the article shown below on Oprah.com, written by Dr. Robert Tornambe, whom is a “New York City plastic surgeon, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.) and diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (board certified). Dr. Tornambe has lectured in the United States and Europe and is considered an expert in cosmetic facial and breast surgery. He was listed in New York Magazine’s “The Best Doctors in New York.” Dr. Tornambe has appeared on Dateline, NBC’s Today and The Charlie Rose Show, and he was the only New York City–based plastic surgeon to appear on the ABC series Extreme Makeover. His latest book is The Beauty Quotient Formula (Hay House)” and was struck by the question he posed mid-article, which I have noted at the top of this post for reference also.

This question posed, brought to life the idea that technology does change how we see ourselves, and also other people, especially with individuals whom go to extreme lengths to fulfil their ‘ideal’ vision of themselves based on those they follow, admire and look up to whether this be through cosmetic surgery or photo-editing platforms/tools. In turn, this made me think about my own research question and how the idea of ‘role modes’ relates to self-perception and body image issues in this particular context of beauty, surrounding the new phenomenon of brands using celebrities, bloggers and vloggers as marketing and communications tools. For example, the Rimmel “Get the Look App” (noted in a previous post – ‘Recent Technological Advances and Developments within the Beauty Industry’) which allows the user to take a photo of themselves and apply pre-set makeup looks inspired by their models and campaigns. Kate Moss in this instance is used as the main anchor for the campaign, enticing app downloads through the promise of quite literally getting her look – however, the photo of Kate Moss itself is edited – a prime example of the posed question.

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Rimmel Get The Look App
Image Source

We currently live in a society whereby access to celebrity information and photographs for example is instant via digital platforms. We know every beauty product they use thanks to hashtags and brand endorsements, allowing followers to engage with small, but key parts of their lifestyles, replicating it hoping to achieve the same results. Furthermore, along with the Instagram streams for example, recent advanced technologies and releases of ‘beautifying’ apps also now allow this change to happen instantaneously if desired. As Dr. Tornambe notes that “the touch-up technician has become an essential part of every photo project” hinting at the idea that whether we ‘edit’ ourselves through permanent changes or not, many people feel the need to look perfect and flawless to be perceived a certain way and will use one or more mediums to do so.

I found the article below particularly interesting in the sense that these “stars” were almost unreachable in a sense that at one point in time, they would only be featured in high-end fashion magazines such as Vogue, and on billboard campaigns. However at present day, as discussed in my ‘Initial Thoughts on Social Media and Publications’ post, these platforms are becoming much more interlinked and allow for the end-user to contribute their own photographs and instantly engage with content and the surrounding online communities on a personal level. Furthermore, by using various digital and print based outlets to showcase brand campaigns, collections, sponsorships and products for example, more people are being targeted, and more people are contributing therefore as a whole resulting in a constant stream of faces, selfies, outfits and lifestyles being showcased inadvertently on our smartphones influencing changes in body image and self-perception overtime.

“The digital age has brought with it wonderful advantages in all aspects of people’s lives, but it has also created certain unexpected troubles—one of which is a detrimental change in society’s perception of beauty.”

Full Article:
I have highlighted key points which I believe will help in the understanding and unpicking of my research question, whilst there also being several points of which back up points I have already mentioned in this post, or in previous posts prior to finding and reading this article.
“Years ago, actresses were glamorous, larger-than-life movie icons and role models that women looked up to and wanted to be like. But, now that you can follow celebrities on Twitter, read about their makeups and breakups on their blogs and in the tabloids, movie stars are becoming more like…you. Find out how technology has influenced your perception of how you look at yourself and modern-day Hollywood.

The digital age has brought with it wonderful advantages in all aspects of people’s lives, but it has also created certain unexpected troubles—one of which is a detrimental change in society’s perception of beauty.

Prior to computers, magazines and cinema were the sole outlets influencing your perception of beauty. Movie icons—larger than life—were admired on the silver screen, and their more notable adventures were followed in magazines. Carefully orchestrated photo shoots with perfect lighting, makeup and hair styling enhanced the stars’ already beautiful faces. These stars were idolized for their beauty and style. And the general public placed the lucky, well-known celebrities on pedestals, crowning them as royalty. They were role models—adored, but not copied, because it was understood that they lived a life far different from the average person. Stars were admired…from afar.

Fast-forward to the present, ever-changing computer age where you are bombarded by images of all forms and gossip about those celebrities who used to be so glamorized—so distant and different than you. Their lives are chronicled on a daily basis thanks to Twitter, blogs, online magazines and other easily attainable media, creating an almost intimate relationship between the public and the stars. And this change in society’s relationship has changed its view of beauty. Since these celebrities are now on your level, doesn’t that also mean you can be more like them?

The bar for women has been set unrealistically high by the role models people have today. The deck has been stacked against the modern woman. It was bad enough women used to see 17-year-old fashion models wearing $25,000 haute couture gowns in women’s magazines. Now, thanks to Photoshop and other photo-editing software, photos may be manipulated to make their subjects look thinner or heavier, taller or shorter, bustier or flatter chested. Wrinkles can be magically erased and prized features, such as pronounced cheekbones, can be enhanced. The touch-up technician has become an essential part of every photo project.

So the inevitable question arises: How can women, young or not, aspire to look like modern-day role models when the role models themselves don’t even look like their photos?

The answer should be evident, but with people’s new relationship to the stars and new beauty technologies like Botox, facial fillers and cosmetic surgery, this goal seems to be practically doable. But self-esteem can plummet when women compare themselves to these unrealistic iconic images. They are chasing an illusion and place themselves in a no-win situation.

Take Heidi Montag as an example. Recently, this very pretty 23-year-old, up-and-coming actress underwent 10 different surgical procedures so she could look “more glamorous” and hopefully stand out in the highly competitive Hollywood arena. She stands out now, but for all the wrong reasons! So, how does an intelligent, attractive woman in today’s society adjust to all these unrealistic messages around her?

First, women must stop this star worship and gain back a bit of separation between the woman on the screen and the woman in the mirror. Realize that what you see in the media is not reality. These faces should not be the faces you aspire to have. Choose realistic role models for various stages of life. And remember that as wonderful as plastic surgery is, if you are 60 years old, you are never going to look like Heidi Klum. Look for women who are beautiful and vivacious, yet who are aging gracefully, like Helen Mirren or Meryl Streep—or your boss or neighbor. Use these as your role models, and your life will become much simpler and your goals more attainable.

Also, women need to discard their one-dimensional definition of beauty. Beauty does not lie in physical features alone. It’s about the whole package: physical beauty, mental strength, warm personality and personal presentation. So stop looking in the mirror and seeing the glass as half empty. Instead of looking for flaws, embrace your positive characteristics and figure out ways to enhance them. Stop wishing for someone else’s nose or hair and fall in love with your own. A face can be structurally imperfect but still beautiful. Intangibles make a woman beautiful, and you must recognize those wonderful quirks that you possess and be proud of them. Develop a beauty arsenal consisting of clothing that fits well and enhances your attributes. Create a solid hair-and-makeup routine, and exercise to stay healthy and build your confidence. Confidence is the real secret here! A confident woman is a beautiful woman. Learn how to feel great on the inside as well as the outside.”

Source:
Dr Robert Tornabe (2010) Your Perception of Beauty in the Digital Age http://www.oprah.com/spirit/your-perception-of-beauty-in-the-digital-age#ixzz4MoUl5FzX, Last Accessed: 11th Oct 2017

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Instagram Blogging Posts using Critical-Design

This is working towards objective 4.A and 1.

I would like to experiment with the idea of a Critical Design-led project using methods founded by Dunne and Raby (2007), which features a range of digital blogging posts using speculative design proposals and ideas in order to challenge the assumptions, ideals, trends, pre-empted conceptions about brands, products and objects within the Beauty and Fashion Industries, whilst provoking thought, sparking conversation and debate.

Furthermore, I would like to then develop these posts based on received feedback to further to achieve a realised outcome, which would be made up of a carefully selected and curated range of printed posters, which could either be sold or exhibited. The final outcome would aim to reflect the findings of my research question which explores the responsibilities of the Fashion and Beauty Industries, understanding how Social Media and Magazines influence and affect our sense of self-perception and body image” whilst utilising the collated research based on this critical-design led project.

To coincide with this blog and my journey on the MA Creative Practice course, I have decided to also open an Instagram account which will serve as a social media platform to share the work I am creating and developing, whilst engaging with an active consumer market in the hope of sparking thoughts and interest on the noted issues around the Fashion and Beauty Industries.

The Instagram account can be found here, and the account itself promotes this blog and encourages followers and viewers to stop, look, visit, read, question and think in a different way.

I have already posted several times this week on Instagram to get the ball rolling and to assess what works/doesn’t work for the target audience in regards to content, whilst exploring different digital processes and techniques. The posts which have ‘gone live’ this week can be seen below, and have so far received a positive reception from the Instagram community.

I plan on collating a list of ideas for posts which can be produced in advance, to then be uploaded everyday day or two in order to continually engage with the targeted communities and audience whilst building up a series of illustrations and typographic design work which can be used and further developed going forward. By planning posts in advance I can ensure that these then relate to research topics and projects at hand as previously noted, whilst ensuring any problems or issues are illeviated in advance. Furthermore my allocating set blocks of time to plan and create these posts on a regular basis I am hoping for this to be a smooth running, on-going process.

A variation of approaches in regards to aesthetic has been used in order to gain ideas of which has the best reception in regard to target audience (female, 16-24 years old), those whom are active on social within fashion and beauty communities, whilst using critical-design through use of typographic statements informing satirical vector and CAD based illustrations, relaying serious messages with parodical undertones.

I decided to start off by creating posts relevant to my proposal and the ‘Initial Thoughts’ blog post.

Further Context:

Social Media, has become notorious for ‘influencing’ what we wear through the boom of bloggers and vloggers as well as through the rise of brand engagement, digital magazine publishing and promotion as well as celebrity accounts. These “influencers” as they choose to be called, collectively ‘influence’ how we look, promote ‘ideals’ and almost tell us what and wear to buy our products from, however, many ‘consumers’ seem unaware of the affects these daily streams of content can have on us in regards to body image and self-perception issues, let alone our purses.

The posts which I have been creating and posting this week aim to reflect this in a tounge-in-chic manner, using bold graphics, feminine colours and copy which has been written to not only raise the point of influence and scale within these industries, but to show this visually. I hope to collate a range of posts which can then be experimented with through hands-on print processes such as screen-printing, in order to see what gives the most effective results, engagement and insight with the target audience, whilst delivering the message in the most appropriate visual manner.

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This first post is targeted at noting the rise of “fashion bloggers”, the readiness and easiness of this as a career path and the competitiveness which surrounds it. With the right platform, anyone can try to make it as a fashion blogger, or even beauty blogger making the industry overwhelmingly competitive. The more followers you have, the more brand kudos and sponsorship you shall receive, similarly to celebrities and ‘face time’ on campaigns, tv and magazines, etc. This competitiveness can spark self-perception issues and generate ideas around a rise of narcissists, allowing for a career which is very self-consuming and all about ‘the self’.

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This post is essentially a satirical, mocking and sarcastic response to the instantly recognisable drippy lip icon which Kylie Jenner uses to symbolise her ‘Lip Kits’. The concept of this was perceiving the packaging design and iconography as how we should use the product without prior knowledge of cosmetics, responding to a world and community where individuals are so guided and influenced by visuals, therefore assuming that everyone is aware of these products, brands and uses.

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This was created in response to how many Selfies were currently on Instagram at the time of creating this post, whilst addressing the question of how as individuals we have contributed to this overtime. Some selfies may also be Instagram without even being aware – friend or group selfies which one may not have tagged you in for example, or possibly old accounts you had forgotten about or thought you may of deleted. Either way, photos of you are live in circulation under the # system, and are reasonably accessible to most people around the world whether you know them or not. I wanted people to think about these sorts of questions and even possibly question whether that is okay or not ethically? Should our photographs be so public? Or do we by using social media, consent ourselves to be seen, judged and viewed by others? What harm does this do to us? Or do some see it as a positive?

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This post questions the current growing trend of ‘perfect brows’ in a dominant, loud and illustrative manner, highlighting the ‘growing importance’ of such facial feature with the beauty industry and social media communities. By using language relative to the target audience and trend alike, this post aims to engage with such audience and spark thoughts about how they think and feel about their own features.

Below shows the posts in situ on Instagram, whilst showing engagement from the Instagram community in regards to ‘likes’. ‘Insights’ becomes available for the most recent post only after 24 hours of being posted which shows how many people have seen the posts, and how many actually engage with it through ‘likes’ or comments. This is something I plan on noting for each overtime to assess what has the best reach. I also plan to do this as noted above to see which aesthetic and topic of choice appeals to the target most also in order to curate my further exploratory work to this demographic:

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It is apparent from the above 4 screenshots that ‘Kylie Jenner’ references and ‘Brow’ were best received, highlighting how trends and cultural icons have power over such users, therefore potentially affecting ones self-perception.

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Research Methods

I have collated a list of various forms of research I would like to carry out across the academic year in order to improve the quality of my research methodologies and findings, as weĺl as contributing to the understanding and visual realisations of my research question. In addition using a variety of primary and secondary research methods to collect data, I feel as though this will strenghten my conclusions and allow for indepth analysis and reflection across a range of resources.

In addition, due to the vast scale of topics which can be look at and analysed regarding my research question and the time available on the course to carry out such work, I feel as though I have had to target females specifically being ultimately the main end user and audience within the Beauty and Fashion industries. However, I would like to use some of these research methods to find out how men perceive women via magazines and social media, again changing perceptions within these industries so see how this affects their ideas of ‘ideal’ women. Do we have to look a certain way now to appeal to the opposite sex? What do men think about the rise of beauty trends and fads? What do they think of current ‘icons’ such as Kim Kardashian for example whom influence the looks and perceptions of women so much? Do males and females feel differently about these issues?

I would also like to find out what people think generally about the rise of beauty and fashion trends, the rise of bloggers, Vloggers and social media outlets, as well as the traditional magazine and how these visual outlets affect our body image and self-perception issues.

Noted forms of research may include:

  • Qualitative Data
  • Quantitative Data
  • Interviews
  • Questionnaires and/or Surveys
  • Focus Groups – male and/or female?
  • Visual Research
  • Critical Design-led Research 
  • Visual Questionnaires for ‘ranking’ of looks and reflection – could possibly be targeted at a male audience.
  • Debates and discussions following lectures and presentations, for example. 
  • Field research – International Research trip booked to Japan.
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