Body of Work by Sara Salamon and Tanner Ott

We are looking to dissect the “perverse/inappropriate imagery” criterion that social media identifies within their rules and regulation guidelines. Often times we find that these sites themselves do not target certain people or images, but rather the viewer identifies the image they subjectively find to be inappropriate.Participants are given the option to report these images, and this often results in the image being taken down by the platform rather than by the original author of the image. This then reflects back to the source of the image, pointing the perverse and inappropriate judgment to the person who is posting the picture rather than the viewer who is interpreting the image. This is interesting because within the context of the viewers, they, in fact, are the ones identifying these images in a provocative manner - therefore transforming the content into something obscene which may not have been its original intent.

Our project’s intention is to discuss this issue in an art context. Through our own experiences, we have found that these sites have taken down our artwork because the images depict an unclothed body. Although the intention was to praise the body in its raw and natural form, we were perplexed to find that it had actually offended someone enough to report the image to be taken down. It was interesting for us to find that our artwork was actually considered to be so obscene and inappropriate to exist in the space of these sites when, in reality, it simply displays a bodily organ that everyone experiences and is nature to the world of reproduction. It is work created in the name of art will intent to generate conversation, but instead, some may find it to be too close for comfort.

Here we find a problem with the way people perceive the body. The lines between displaying the body for its nature and displaying the body for pornography are blurred so much that some can no longer create a distinction.This is where our project fits in. The project in made to exist in an online space that will be a website of its own. We found that the use of creating our own platform will create a sport of safe space for our art and becomes a relationship with only the viewer and the work that is being displayed.

Now, we want to make art that is highly interactive and dependent on the engagement of the viewer. In each piece, there is an underlying image of the human body in its natural form through a flattened digital space that is disrupted and concealed by various forms of digital painting. This then causes a form of censorship of the bodies within itself, which can be unveiled by the viewer. Through clicking on the image, each strip of paint is removed. The viewer then has the option to click until the body is fully revealed. However the viewer can stop removing the paint at any point if the sight of the body creates discomfort. The more the viewer clicks, the more the body becomes exposed. Through this interaction, questions of censorship and the provocative essence are raised. Instead of having the image be deemed as inappropriate, it is now the viewer in control of the image, and through this the viewer is claiming the responsibility of deeming the image as perverse rather than the creators.