For our second project in Foundation 4D, each student was given a random object to observe and subvert. I was given a pacifier. For our first task we were asked to observe the elements that make up our object and its function in our society. Task 2 required us to subvert the original connotation/definition of our object into something that is completely different. For task 3, we were told to take one picture from Task 1 or Task2 and add text to the picture. Converting the picture into a poster that either clarifies the original meeting or the subverted meaning. Like the previous project, this project is to be presented in photographs and use various angles and viewpoints.
Task 1 (Denotation)
A pacifier is a synthetic plastic mouth piece that parents insert in a babies mouth for them to suck. It is shapes so that it resembles the mother’s nipple and is usually used as a substitute for the nipple as the infant gets older/in public spaces. I wanted to focus on the pacifier objectively, removing cultural context and focusing on the pacifier as an object. Which is why I focused on getting closeups of the pacifier. The first images shows a closeup of the plastic part. This gives the audience a closer visual of the pacifier- the glossy and transparent quality.
The second image is a cropped version of another picture. This picture, though similar to the first one is different upon closer inspection. The pacifier is wet, as if it was just removed from a baby’s mouth. Depicting the function of the pacifier, a replacement mother’s nipple for infants.
The third image gives you a nice perspective of the pacifier from the angle many would see it on a baby. The placement and orientation of the pacifier creates balance between the three pictures as it mirrors the placement and orientation of the first image.
Task 2 (Connotation)
For our second task, we were asked to subvert the meaning of our object completely. Ultimately it was our decision to subvert our object while still retaining its qualities or abandoning all preconceived notions. I chose to subvert my pacifier by making it represent something more than a plastic nipple replacement. The first image represents the pacifier as a symbol for a baby. I leave it up to the audiences imagination and cultural influence to decipher what the remaining to objects (grapefruit and chilli) represent. The korean word for chili sounds very similar to the korean word for what it is symbolizing.
For the second image for task 2, I put the pacifier in a cup of beer from two different beers. For this image I took the second definition of a pacifier; someone who settles or calms a situation between to hostile parties. The mixed beer represents the “pacifier” (which I emphasised by placing the pacifier in the cup). I chose beer because beer seems to the most popular alcoholic drink that adults drink casually. People solve problems or discuss ideas at a pub drinking beer, people laugh and cry while drinking beer. The two different (green and white) beer represents two opposing people who settle their differences through beer, the best pacifier.
The last image creates balance in the series as it mirrors the sequential organization of the first image. And like the first image, the pacifier in this picture represents a baby or infancy. But in this context it shows the pacifier as a beginning rather than a product. The pacifier represents the most early stages of human life (specifically female).
Task 3 (Text and Image)
I added the text to this specific image in order to clarify and reestablish the meaning behind the image. Originally, the image was talking about the process required to make a child but now it is put under the backdrop of a fertility clinic . Which I feel I have succeeded in as my classmates stated that the image seemed very sterile and clinical. I changed the image to not only something visual but something that promotes and encourages.
My unique choice in props came from a photographer who I discovered on Instagram. His name is Tyler Shields and his work has captured my attention since the day I followed him. He works with many celebrities and his images range from conservative to provocative. Many of Tyler Shield’s work is shot under studio light or harsh light that brings out the raw colors and textures of his subject. A couple months ago he uploaded an image of a grape fruit, which captured my attention for its unexpected connotation.
The use of a grapefruit to represent more than the bitter fruit is common in art and symbolism. For example artist, Stephanie Surely also uses fruit to bring about a different connotation to the fruit.
For placement, I wanted there to be a clear sense of unity between the objects within one frame and the series as a whole. I chose to shoot infront of a plain background and though my original intention was to have a completely starch white background, my final background brings presence to the image without taking away from the props. I accidentally got the wrong type of paper (tracing paper) but decided to adapt to it thinking that it might work even better than normal paper. And in the end it payed off, the tracing paper actually gave a little extra to the image and brought out an antique oil painting texture to it. Much like the works of Connor Walton, an Irish oil painter who paints beyond just the technicalities.