JJ Levine’s Photos Of One Person As Two Genders Redefine Gender Roles

From Alone Time, 2007

6.jpg.CROP.original-original

From Alone Time, 2007

From Alone Time, 2007

In the dawn of an era where Facebook has added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender, and an oscar nominated film about AIDS and a famous male, straight musician playing a transgender role (aka Dallas Buyers Club), we are bound to see more projects like JJ Levine‘s in the mainstream media.

The Montreal based photographer, an avid cataloguer of trans and queer communities since early 2000′s, creates Alone Time, a series of photographs in which he recreates typical domestic environments that play around with the idea of gender stereotypes. For this project he uses one model only; the one model is to play both the male and female characters in the image. The result, Levine said, “challenges the normative idea that gender presentation is stable or constant. Rather, gender expression can be fluid and multiple.”

“work is emerging at a moment when people are starting to talk more about gender and sexuality in the public sphere, which allows more space for queer cultural production and representation in the mainstream.”The thought-provoking work gives us the chance to become vulnerable and empathetic towards

The thought-provoking work not only give us, the viewer (of any gender,) the possibility to become vulnerable and empathetic, but also the ability to imagine ourselves in this specific situation. What would it be like to be a member of the opposite sexes? Do I, in anyway, resemble some of all the male/female/transgender characteristics?

Levine, a trans and queer man, uses his sexuality, gender and past experiences in his art in order to reach out to those who are not necessarily familiar with the subject. He intends to expand awareness through creating work that is familiar to all, and not just one gender. He notes that his images “talk about and celebrate marginality from a place of familiarity and self-exploration as opposed to voyeurism.” (via Slate)

Is it Time to Audit the Auditors? Why Facebook Blocked Our Most Popular Post To Date (NSFW)

hagenphotography12 hagenphotography6 hagenphotography3

Last week, we published our most viral post to date: Nude Bodies Transform From Flattering To Unflattering With Slight Shift In Pose (NSFW). After gaining momentum on Facebook and accruing a considerable amount of traffic, we were notified that the post violated Facebook’s Community Standards. The (incredibly vague) policy states,

“Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”

Should this apply to nudes that are part of an artistic endeavor, or “content of personal importance,” such as Gracie Hagen’s photographs (featured above)? Why has Facebook never flagged any other post of ours, others of which also feature a comparable amount of nudity (featured below)?

It’s safe to assume that our post was targeted because it received viral Facebook exposure, inviting the scrutiny of many Facebook users who may or may not recognize nudity’s artistic value – any Facebook user can flag a post as inappropriate and subject that post to the review of Facebook’s moderators. Who are Facebook’s moderators? They are (unsurprisingly) employees who are outsourced to 3rd world countries, where they typically receive around $1/hour for the work of wading through what is sure to be the dirtiest and unsettling parts of the internet. Once a moderator receives a flagged post, they can confirm it’s a violation, dismiss it, or escalate it. (Escalation is reserved for posts that could be illegal or are remarkably insidious). Moderators are to follow a detailed guidebook, first uncovered by Gawker, which specifically states, “Art nudity ok” with regard to nudity on Facebook. (Though experience suggests Facebook may only consider illustrations and sculptures of nudes okay.)

Advertise here !!!

Embroidered Status Updates And Google Maps Show Social Media As A Work Of Art

Colleen Merrill - Fiber Arts

Colleen Merrill - Fiber Arts   Colleen Merrill - Fiber Arts

Colleen Toutant Merrill works in fiber– from stitching to embroidery; and interestingly enough, it makes sense that she would use such a traditional folk medium to examine contemporary subject matter such as social media, Google, and Google Maps. These Internet resources are, essentially, a modern day electronic quilt of sorts, piecing together not only our societal curiosities or interests, but also our performative identities in a community.

On this note, Merrill explains, “Quilting bees and embroidery traditionally served as social outlets and communication. Quilts and embroidery both have encoded symbolism and explicit messages as do digital communications.”

Sausage Party Facebook App

Sausage Party

New project Sausage Party by Aaron Meyers looks at your upcoming Facebook events and rigorously assesses their respective male attendance ratings on a 0 to 5 sausage scale. In my case “Ready For The House” (LA artist Ben Bigelow’s house warming) rates a whopping five on the Sausage scale (perfect Sausage score)! First I’ve seen since I’ve been on the site! This way you can gauge and plan your nightly social agenda accordingly. Thank you Aaron, for bringing us such an awesome way of connecting with Facebook and the sausage of the world.

Lee Walton acts out your Facebook status

In self-described “experientialist” artist Lee Walton’s most recent project (though on his Vimeo, it seems the last upload was 9 months ago…), he will perform what his Friends on facebook are doing. This online project will only be viewable to those listed as Friends on the web site. The man is hilarious and ridiculously clever- I’ve added him as a friend, so should you!