Pinhole skull-camera

Discuss

56 Responses to “Pinhole skull-camera”

  1. David Carroll says:

    Mohave #28:

    Thanks for the link on Abelardo Morell.

    PS. I am not a number I am a human being! That is until I die and somebody digs up my skull and turns it into a toaster. I personally will not be any position to care, however it would be nice if the grave-robbing toaster makers (you know who you are) would wait until everyone who knew me was dead too…

  2. t3hmadhatter says:

    well the thing is, i dont think you have much control over what happens to your body parts when donated, just so loved ones cant freak out and get angry because you were used by an art exhibit. i remember there was a museum in my town that had the Bodies Exhibit:

    http://www.luxor.com/attractions/attractions_bodies.aspx?CMP=KNC-Google-Luxor_Corp

    pretty nasty, but still really cool. click image gallery to see what it looks like.

  3. Uncle_Max says:

    WIGWAM JONES @ 42:”I would propose that this particular skull was chosen precisely to offend – don’t you see – in a way that a 40-year-old dairy farmer who died last Tuesday would not.”

    I really feel that anybody who would be upset over the use of a skull of a 13 year old girl from 150 years ago, but would not be upset over a 40 year old dairy farmer of today, really isn’t sure what they’re upset about. The fact that people allow in their emotional attachment for young girls skews the argument. Skulls ARE objects. They’re very useful objects while we’re alive, but once the consciousness has left they have no more significance than a rock. What of art made from shrapnel? What of using a femur to construct a telescope? It was in somebody’s body at one point, does that mean it’s eternally off-limits? No, because it doesn’t have the same connotations that people mistakenly place with a skull.

    “”She” as a person is not being discussed; rather ‘she’ as an object is being discussed. Rather like pornography in that sense, don’t you think?”

    It seems like she IS being discussed as a person, however without specific details. The fact that she’s been humanized is what brings in emotions. The camera is being discussed as an object, not her, they are not one and the same. If one bone represents the entirety of a person, then there are a lot of amputees who have lost their sense of self. The only way this is AT ALL like pornography is that some people are offended by it. But that’s more a problem of the viewer than of the art.

    And I really think that you and GAL IN AL went a little far in claiming this as “corpse abuse” and a desecration. There seems to be a lot of respect shown by the artist, and I don’t think this even comes close to breaching standards of decency.

  4. Wigwam Jones says:

    “Most ancient religions or practices, the bones of last nights dinner were honored just as much as the bones of your ancestors.”

    Wow, totally untrue. Bones of hunt animals that served as dinner are commonly found in firepits. Bones of ancestors are commonly found buried in what appear to be quite like what we know as cemeteries.

    Pantheism was always less prevalent than polytheism, and the line between the sacred and profane has been relatively clear and distinct throughout human history, with very few exceptions. Pantheism is a relatively modern departure, dated at perhaps as far back as the Upanishads.

    It is true that early polytheism was animistic and the line between the ‘natural’ world and that of the ‘Gods’ was blurred, but again, there was a line between the venison eaten and the Deer God (as an example).

    The earliest non-disputed intentional human burial grounds date back 130,000 years. There are no burial grounds for the bones of the game animals eaten.

  5. Daemon says:

    Wayne Martin Belger: Reducing humanity to spare parts, so that you don’t have to.

  6. controlbroke says:

    @ hatter #18 .. nah thats a Gunther von Hagens exhibit, you have to donate your body to him. for plastination if you want to end up as an exhibit.

    he doesn’t just pinch bodies from the morgue. but if you do donate your body you get a refund on the door price.

    also back on track i have to weigh in on the skull camera. the concept i am fine with but the decoration, eeew ..makes this looks like a cheap Halloween mask or “Disney goth”

    pants

  7. Wigwam Jones says:

    For those who feel that dead bones connote nothing in particular, and therefore can be used for anything in general (including, presumably, art), let me ask you – why then, this artwork?

    One can certainly suppose that the art in question is not the photograph produced with the skull-camera; any pinhole camera could have produced that. And in fact, the artist makes a point of constructing cameras specifically for capturing a given image that he has come up with in his imagination, as he states on his webpage.

    He further tells us that this skull, unlike any generic skull, is that of a 13-year-old girl who died 150 years ago. Why is that meaningful? Why should it or does it matter? Why is it not the skull of a 40-year-old dairy farmer who died last Tuesday? Would the meaning of the photo – or the artwork – change if that were the case?

    No, this specific skull was chosen for a reason, and the limited information we are given about it was chosen for a reason. The reason is that these specific facts (if facts they are) signify things to us, cultural things, and they are intended to provoke a reaction.

    So we cannot say that it does not matter, that a skull is just a relic of personhood that is now devoid of meaning. It clearly has meaning – for all – or it would be of no use whatsoever in signaling. I must reject that hypothesis as error, it clearly cannot be.

    It does challenge us to examine preconceived notions about ‘dignity’ after death. And even what to do with human remains from a practical sense – why have cemeteries at all, why give people urns containing ashes? Why have monuments, why even hold a funeral?

    But we are also a society that holds symbols dear – and we are not alone, all societies do, even through the symbols may vary. The fact that the English language even has a word like ‘desecrate’ indicates that some symbols are not to be transgressed, by more-or-less common, mutual, consent.

    It is clear, then, that the dead represent something to us – their accoutrements and ephemera signal us, and we respond powerfully. From the “Jolly Roger” to the “Skull and Bones Club,” we derive meaning from these potent symbols. We cannot wave off an objection by blithely stating “Oh, that skull doesn’t mean anything.” Clearly, it does, else it’d not have been used. Precisely what it means is open to discussion, but the fact that the skull has meaning in this work is beyond protestation. I would propose that this particular skull was chosen precisely to offend – don’t you see – in a way that a 40-year-old dairy farmer who died last Tuesday would not.

    So some are offended – those who are not offended should at the very least not be surprised at those who do take offense, nor should they simply shrug off the objections of those who find such work vile and reprehensible. Clearly, the artist intended to provoke just exactly this reaction, and he has done so. If you wish to honor the artist’s intentions, consider the offended stance of some to be part and parcel of the art to be examined and show some respect to those who hold these views – they are at the very least taking an opposing viewpoint -without which, there would be no point to discussion.

    While it is in the nature of art to challenge such notions, as well as to threaten taboos, I repeat that this does not engage me or intrigue me, but I suspect it makes us all a bit more jaded.

  8. Gal_n_AL says:

    #32 and #33 I hope the two of you will excuse my lack of sophistication and my failure to appreciate corpse abuse as an artform. While there is no glory in having one’s remains decay underground in a grave, it’s indecent (yes, I said ‘indecent’ not a very popular term) to take what housed all the thoughts, dreams, prayers, and fears of a young girl who was already cheated out of a normal life span, and turn it into an object. It doesn’t matter if she died 150 years ago or 15 days ago, she was someone’s little girl and she deserves the same dignity that we all expect when we leave this world. My heart breaks for her because I am a mother. I hope you will forgive me for “missing the point”.

  9. Anonymous says:

    @19 — unfortunately, that’s not true. There was a huge controversy surrounding the Bodies exhibit and the source of the bodies and parts. On the website it even has this disclaimer:

    “This exhibit displays human remains of Chinese citizens or residents which were originally received by the Chinese Bureau of Police. The Chinese Bureau of Police may receive bodies from Chinese prisons. Premier cannot independently verify that the human remains you are viewing are not those of persons who were incarcerated in Chinese prisons.

    This exhibit displays full body cadavers as well as human body parts, organs, fetuses and embryos that come from cadavers of Chinese citizens or residents. With respect to the human parts, organs, fetuses and embryos you are viewing, Premier relies solely on the representations of its Chinese partners and cannot independently verify that they do not belong to persons executed while incarcerated in Chinese prisons.”

  10. Steve Schnier says:

    While the camera is neat and goth and spooky… it’s kind of creepy. Would you really want it on your shelf? I mean seriously, the Boss and his wife are over for dinner and you display your latest nick-nack while sipping brandy in your study…

    “…and this camera obscura was made from the skull of a 13 year old girl-child…” you boast proudly.

    “Oh? Did you kill her yourself?” asks the Boss’s wife.

    “Oh no. That was Grandpapa…”

    Cool, in an Ed Gein sort-of-way. But I think not.

  11. redsquares says:

    I for one am against the use of chemically aligned minerals that, at one time, housed a sentient being which no longer exists for anything but as something to burn, pile dirt upon, or blast into space.

    Aren’t graveyards just glorified garbage dumps? In our western culture, aren’t memorials and their symbolic gestures more important than the actual physical remnant?

    If you’re upset by this, I hope you have a mausoleum with your family members in it. For meat and mineral husks must be saved!…

    …for Soylent Green Purposes.

  12. Wigwam Jones says:

    May I suggest that both sides of this discussion are correct. The original owner of the skull no longer has any use for it. Likewise, it is disrespectful and gauche to use a former person’s body as objet d’art in this manner.

    The artist is manipulating powerful symbols in order to create a reaction, and clearly, he succeeds in this. The author of the article, Cory Doctorow, is clearly familiar with this method, comfortable as he is with the field of semiotics.

    A more familiar example is flag-burning. No one can correctly claim that the USA is harmed in any material way when a person burns a US flag. However, symbols are powerful, and when they collide, emotions are manipulated in powerful ways. Thus, burning-as-protest and flag-as-symbol-of-love-for-country is an extreme juxtaposition – people’s emotions are aroused. Some are incensed, some are dismayed, some are nonplussed, some are encouraged.

    A skull as a camera has simultaneous messages for the witness.

    First, that the act of photography is not strictly a relationship between the viewer of the photograph and the photograph itself. How could it be, if the viewer had no knowledge of the ‘skull camera’ from which the photograph came?

    Second, the irony of the skull as camera evokes thoughts of the theurgian’s mystical ‘inner eye’ or imagination – or magick. Even the design of the steel work invokes concepts familiar today, as what was once ‘Lovecraftian’ and is now ‘steampunk’ in nature. Irony, of course, is always appreciated in good artwork – the inner dialog and appreciative chuckle between the artist and those who ‘get the joke’. This one is perhaps a tad unsubtle.

    Third, the in-your-face nature of a former face (another irony?) being used as a camera forces the viewer to make a decision regarding their own symbols and how they arrange them internally, and we then see the results in these comments. This is one of the most common methods of artistic expression – the insult, the sacrilege, the “There, I have done the unthinkable. Now you must confront it, must think about it.” In this sense, there is no outrage that cannot and will not be attempted. Indeed, present-day artists must struggle find symbols which are still powerful enough to be perverted in ways which offend – the triumph of this form of art is that it makes the world more blasé.

    Personally, I have no use for it, and my own symbols are arranged in such a manner that I find it in poor taste, but I recognize when my symbols are being challenged, and accept that as valid for the artist.

    I suppose the proper semiotically-correct response would be to confront the artist and pelt him with feces or rotten meat. This would extend the metaphor, but would he ‘get it’?

  13. soupisgoodfood says:

    Love the use of RC model car parts (the gold coloured shock absorbers and tie-rods).

  14. Steve Schnier says:

    @ WIGWAM JONES #21

    Brilliant!

  15. Mingross says:

    Wow. That’s fantastically macabre. I love the picture that was taken with it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s “memento mori,” as in memory. “Remember you are mortal.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_mori

  17. Bender says:

    My hope would be that a descendant of that 13 year old girls family (a great, great nephew perhaps) gets the opportunity to see how all that crap has been attached to his family member’s skull, then hunts that doofus camera maker down.

    When I die, I could see the possibility of donating my body for science or art. But if I don’t end up giving permission, I’d prefer not to have my parts converted into something like this, no matter how “fantastic” or “brilliant” it is, thanks anyway.

  18. minTphresh says:

    my poor wee brain cannot wrap itself around the mind-bending awesomeness of this device. does he know the girl’s name? he should inscribe a memorial for her on the camera back. i wonder if it makes portraits…

  19. cinemajay says:

    So it’s a real skull? Hmm. That’s kinda wrong, isn’t it?

  20. BlueGrrl says:

    I’m a huge pinhole photo fan, and have made some cameras myself…I’m just not so sure I agree with the choice of using a skull.

  21. K0MAS says:

    I do admire his skill for building these cameras, though some of them I think he’s “trying too hard” in some sense. The infant heart for example. ??? Anyway, he has one called 9/11 that claims to have a piece of steel from the South WTC Tower. I thought they were extremely strict about the disposal of the wreckage to prevent people taking “souvenirs” and the like. How did he get this piece? Was he actually there and thought, “Hey! A piece of steel girder from one of the worst disasters in history! I bet I can use that for something.” and nicked it off the ground?

  22. boyofblue says:

    Hi, I’m the guy that created the work your talking about.

    First, the skull is from England and was part a med students study kit from the turn of the century. It then sat in a box of bones with other early med school tools in an attic for a hundred years. The person that gave it to me said the only time it came down from the attic was to get stoned with it. I do feel the skull is in a better place now than where it was. She is now seen in gallery’s and books, covered in jewels, seen as beautiful and presented in a shrine I built for her.

    My personal view on working with human remains came from my religious studies. I was raised Catholic and spent my Sundays in a Latin Mass. I still prefer Latin Mass because when you don’t understand Latin you rely on the visuals for communication. With no one telling me what to think, the duality of Man/God didn’t exist. I grew up without knowing of the religion created caste system of God/Man/Nature. A system adopted by many current religions to control followers and keep them in fear. My view has always been God, Nature and I were all the same. I didn’t think god was going to come down and squish me with his/her giant thumb and I wasn’t about to do that to nature because we were all one. With the caste system intact, of course the girls skull is sacred and the bones you tossed out from last nights dinner are just trash. Most ancient religions or practices, the bones of last nights dinner were honored just as much as the bones of your ancestors. Cultures around the world for thousands of years have created beautiful works of art from bones to honer their ancestors and the animals that gave them life. A good example of human bone use in Christianity is the The Sedlec Ossuary located beneath the Church of All Saints in the Czech Republic. The the Church was built in the 1400′s and the bone work the was done in 1870. I created the piece to honer a girl that died at a very young age. When I first received the skull it was filthy and decaying. With a lot of cleaning and care I was able to put it back together and create a piece that photographs what I saw in her. The beauty of life and the beauty of decay.

    All the cameras I make are my bridges to subjects I wish to learn about. Growing up the priest had tools of Communion made for and from subject Jesus. I’m doing the same with the subjects I focus on. HIV camera was created after my best friend found he was HIV positive. Heart was created to study the process of birth and my relationship to my twin brother that died at birth. The artifacts that become the parts of my cameras, just seem to come to me at appropriate times in my life. These have been great tools of learning for me.

    As far as it being right or wrong to use human remains, that comes from your personal history and belief system. Cultures around the world have incredibly different views on the subject of human remains. From one extreme to the other their tradition is base line normal for that culture. Like in Tibet they still have sky burials. The body is dismembered then fed to Vulchers. What is left over is then ground into a pulp and fed to the Vulchers again till there’s nothing left of the body. With the time I have spent in Southeast Asia, I’ve always had more of a Buddhist path on the subject. A friend of mine that is a Tibetan Lama living here in the US gave me some in-site when I talked to him about The Third Eye and Yama. His view was that skull had the same importance as a fallen leaf or a feather dropped from a bird. The life force was no longer part of the tool.
    Well, I hope this helps. I know this process doesn’t work for everyone, but works for me.

    One more thing. Someone on another Blog thought I put a camera into the skull. The skull is the camera. I fabricate the camera parts on a Bridgeport mill from billet aluminum, titanium, stainless and copper. I’m not modifying a camera or using any camera parts.

    sorry about the mega long post and typos. Just thought some of you may appreciate some answers.
    Thanks,
    Wayne

  23. Mojave says:

    GAL N AL…I will leave you with these words.

    A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
    A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
    Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
    Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
    A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
    Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
    Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
    Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darken’d ways
    Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
    Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
    From our dark spirits…

    Namaste.

  24. midknyte says:

    I dead see people

  25. Mojave says:

    This is without a DOUBT the SINGLE GREATEST THING EVER POSTED ON BOINGBOING!!!

    not kidding.

  26. Steve Schnier says:

    To Bender – Point of clarification. When I said “Brilliant”, I was referring the the extremely well thought out comments made by WIGWAM JONES and not the camera.

  27. Takuan says:

    I have smelled of you and found you good.

  28. guy_jin says:

    I don’t mind this sort of thing if the donor knows generally whats going to happen to their remains, but I very much doubt that was the case here.

  29. Bender says:

    To Steve (#27)-
    I see that now. Point taken.

  30. Gal_n_AL says:

    If the skull is 150 years old, then the little girl grew up in the 1850′s. These links have historical pic’s.

    http://flickr.com/photos/josefnovak33/1248989962/

    http://naztybaby.livejournal.com/
    on this one is a little girl in a red dress. She helped me decide how I feel about this issue.
    The skull the artist used to make a camera belonged to a little girl who died at the age of thirteen. Which is more tragic; losing your life at 13 or having some douche recycle your head into an art piece?

  31. minTphresh says:

    wayne, thank you so much for your incredibly informative post. i find the piece, in its entirety, consists of not only the physical ‘work’ ( i.e. the photograph taken with the modified skull) , but of equal importance is the tool which accomplishes the work. im happy you do her honor. your craftsmanship is only exceeded by your vision.

  32. Jake0748 says:

    What Takuan said.

    Now I can feel good about the beauty I find in your creation.

  33. Zara says:

    Not to be overly pedantic, but Wayne’s last name is Belger, not Bleger. Otherwise, everything seems perfectly consistent. Carry on! ;-)

  34. E0157H7 says:

    I believe that the artist has produced several pinhole cameras, and I’m sure that one of them used HIV-positive blood as a red lens filter. Unless I’m thinking of another macabre conceptual pinhole camera artist.

  35. Tenn says:

    Much better than being used for a bong. I want my ribcage turned into a xylophone and my metacarpals and tarsals used as chimes. I’ve already promised away my right arm, flesh and all; but Boingers are welcome to have the rest. Save the squishy bits for Takuan.

    deserves the same dignity that we all expect when we leave this world

    I don’t expect dignity when I leave this world. I don’t expect anything when I leave this world. Sorry, but ‘all’ is a bit overreaching there. I believe the dead body is absent of emotion, and should be used freely. It’s why I’ll be an organ donor and a rest-of-remains-to-forensic-science donor.

  36. Takuan says:

    a man is not dead so long as his name is still spoken.

  37. eustace says:

    No steam, no win.

  38. Takuan says:

    her name?

  39. scothampton says:

    i’ve always been fascinated with this guy’s work; truly amazing.

  40. Mojave says:

    #30 you are completely missing the point in the awesomeness of this. She may have died many, many moons ago, but what a beautiful way for her to live on. I am haunted by the beauty of it all….

  41. Gal_n_AL says:

    Wayne, thank you for shining more light on your process. While I still feel very strongly about how the remains of the deceased should be treated, I want to thank you for telling us more about your work and all the thought you’ve put into it. I apologize for the “some douche” remark in my earlier comments. Your work has evoked a lot of strong emotion from all sides.

  42. boyofblue says:

    Hmmm “Wow, totally untrue”… That was a bit of a wide sweeping statement.

    My statement was about the use of bones, human and animal, made into artistic tools to honor their desired points of focus. These tools were and are honored by their cultures.

    To say “totally untrue”, eliminates many beautiful rituals that have thousands of years of history. A good example is the Sacred Buffalo skull used in the Sioux Sun Dance. It’s brought out on the fourth morning of the ceremony decorated in Sage. I went to a Sun Dance here in Arizona with my girlfriend who is Yaqui and Apache, ( Helps to know someone at a Sun Dance ) and many of the sacred tools were from animal remains. The Buffalo skull I saw, I think had a bullet hole in it. I don’t think it died from natural causes and I’m quite sure they didn’t take the animal down just for it’s head. They had a feast. I also saw many Deer parts used and Eagle talons used for the piercing ritual. I know the Eagle probably wasn’t food, but I’m sure the Deer was.

    You sound quite educated ( I’m sure far more than me. Hell, look at my sentence structure! ) Your statement eliminates so many ancient and present practices that use human and animal remains from every continent on the planet, I was quite surprised.

    Some other examples… the Yoruba religion of Africa. Animal scarifies, big feast the bones were used in ritual. (The Warrior Orishas dig bones). Santeria is the present day form of Yoruba here in the West and the rituals are still practiced. The Arctic, Walrus tusks and bone made into ritualistic tools. The animal was eaten. The Hindu Agori Tribe in India. They drink from ornamental skull caps from human bodes they have consumed. This is a present day practice. ( For me, that’s a bit over the top. But still not for them.) Tibetan Buddhism. From ritual tools made of human and animal bone for ceremony, to human bone flutes, bone Mala beads and intricately carved human skulls depicting the stories Durga. The last time I was in India, I spent some time in a Tibetan refugee camp. I found snake skin drums made from human skull caps and goat heads that were covered in beautiful silver work that depicted Tibetan Gods. With over a billion people, I think the goat was eaten… Java, Borneo, Papa New Guinea… We don’t have enough time to go there… It’s hard to find a place on this planet that hasn’t had these practices.

    Because a group adopted a western style burial 130,000 years ago doesn’t mean it’s the “correct” or the collective societal norm at that time or now. Personally, current western burial practices of embalming, 16 gage steel casket that is then put into a concrete box with a rubber O-ring gasket on the top lid, is very bizarre to me.

    I’ve been asked in the past “How would you like your head made into a camera?”. Looking at the options of burning, worm food or turned into a shrine that would be seen as beautiful, and that would get thousands of people thinking and inspire people to step outside the box, as she did for me… It’s no contest.

    I also see a lot of concern about how she was handled. I was offended when someone called her a “toy”. I can guarantee you she was cared for with respect. Not because I believe the skull is her, or she’s in there somewhere. I respect her for who she was. I respect her as I do my own ancestors. A respect that I don’t know if she ever had. I learned this from my ex-wife who is from India. She went to med school at UCSF. When the new cadavers would arrive at the anatomy lab, they would have a ceremony for them, thanking them for donating their body’s for their education. I would go to the lab with my wife and I was amazed by the incredible respect and gratitude everyone showed for the bodies. This is a practice I continue in my work. I feel this is one reason the items the cameras are made of, just show up at my door step from time to time.

    And another thing Wigwam Jones!!! It’s nice to meet you.

    -WMB-

  43. Keith K says:

    I want everyone to know that this is what I want done when I die.

  44. Mr_Saikou says:

    *Speechless* That is the most Badass thing Ever!

  45. Anonymous says:

    Awesome creation.We think that when dead nothing can be done with the skulls etc,but that’s fascinating macabre.Love your works and the picture taken from it!

  46. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ Uncle Max

    Skulls ARE objects. They’re very useful objects while we’re alive, but once the consciousness has left they have no more significance than a rock. What of art made from shrapnel? What of using a femur to construct a telescope? It was in somebody’s body at one point, does that mean it’s eternally off-limits? No, because it doesn’t have the same connotations that people mistakenly place with a skull.

    I have already addressed this, but let me try again. The skull is used in this context because it is a human skull. The artist chose it over a wooden box, an animal skull, or an actual camera – and that makes it clear that it has power as a human skull. This alone makes it obvious that it is more than just an ‘object’. If an object is an object is an object, then the skull could have been substituted with a cardboard box and it would have the same impact. It does not because they are not equivalent objects. The human skull used is important as itself and in its own context.

    It seems like she IS being discussed as a person, however without specific details. The fact that she’s been humanized is what brings in emotions. The camera is being discussed as an object, not her, they are not one and the same. If one bone represents the entirety of a person, then there are a lot of amputees who have lost their sense of self. The only way this is AT ALL like pornography is that some people are offended by it. But that’s more a problem of the viewer than of the art.

    With respect, she is not being discussed as a person. What is her name? Where is the discussion of her life, her death, her family, her dreams? None of that is present – we are not discussing her as a person. We discuss her in her current capacity as a skull-made-into-a-camera and that is all.

    The artist has described his artwork and camera as a shrine – I disagree. Shrines to people are shrines to people with names. She has no name, she has no history, she has no family. She has been stripped almost entirely of context. This is not a shrine. Shrines are to the memory of a person, not to the memory of a virtually anonymous skull-donor.

    This is entirely analogous to viewing and then discussing a penis, vagina, or breast, divorced entirely from the person to whom it belongs, and arousing emotion and interest based on what it is, as opposed to the person to whom it is (or was) attached. It is pornography in that sense. Do not confuse my statement with a condemnation, please. I use the word ‘pornography’ precisely, but without emotional content or condemnation on that basis.

    As to the issue of ‘respect’, I cannot speak for GAL IN AL, but for myself, my statement was aimed at those who do not respect the opinion of the people who object. Our negative views on the artwork are as entirely appropriate as your positive view.

    There is no ‘right way’ to partake of art – we are permitted to not like it, to deplore it, and to see it as entirely objectionable, whether you agree with us or not. Not liking it is not the same as not understanding it, and respect flows both ways – let those who like it, like it – and those who do not, not.

  47. kip w says:

    There is certainly a degree of craft and panache to it, but on balance, I’m against taking the mortal remains of a young person and using it for what is essentially a toy. If it was done with the advance permission of the deceased, or if they had stated that they don’t care what you do with it, that’s different.

    I confess that putting dead people on display in museums has always creeped me.

  48. Phikus says:

    It’s hard to out-goth this guy, that’s for sure.

    “I’ve got this locket with a picture of Peter Murphy in it dressed like he’s from the 18th century, filled with dried up dead spiders. What’ve you got?”

    “Well, I’ve got this camera…”

  49. David Carroll says:

    Wow! The ultimate camera obscura!

    This reminds me of this animated film I saw at Ottawa 08 International Film Festival last week.

    When I was a kid, I (temporarily) blacked out my bedroom window except for a 1/8″ hole in the middle. On a sunny day it projected a faint image of my neighborhood on the opposite wall. I wanted to try putting some photo paper on that wall, but never got around to it.

  50. Uncle_Max says:

    GAL N AL @30: Which is more tragic, having bones lie in the dirt for hundreds of years, or being used in a work of art? This girl would have been otherwise forgotten by history, but because of this camera, she’s being discussed and thought about. There’s really nothing more tragic than being thrown in the ground and leaving no evidence of your existence.

  51. dbarak says:

    Call me a prude, but I’m not a big fan of using human remains like this (in our western culture, at least), unless of course it’s with the permission of the person that’s not using the body part any more.

    That being said, something something joke about “pin(hole) head” something something…

  52. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #32 and #33…

    Thou has said it. “What *is* more tragic…?” [emphasis mine]. #30 clearly feels the latter (skull on display) is more tragic than the former (bones in dirt). And he or she is allowed to feel that way, just as you are allowed to feel the opposite.

    I ‘completely missed the point’ of having GG Allin throw feces at audience members, but there were clearly those who thought it was both awesome and transcendent. Your ‘point’ is not everyone’s point – and that’s ‘my’ point.

    In any case, #33, she remains unknown and uncelebrated – unless you are in receipt of information about her life that the rest of us do not know. “She” as a person is not being discussed; rather ‘she’ as an object is being discussed. Rather like pornography in that sense, don’t you think?

  53. Mojave says:

    Wayne….thanks for chiming in.

    I think I know the name of the girl.
    She visited me in the dreamtime 6 hours ago.

  54. dbarak says:

    Okay, I’m a prude. From the guy’s website:

    “4”x5” camera made from Aluminium, Titanium, Acrylic, Formaldehyde and an infant human heart.”

    http://www.boyofblue.com/cameras/heart/heart_close.jpg

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