Cathleen Parra Art Eat-Up, July 2013

Title of project: The Lego Project

Project Summary: 

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Through out this project I interacted with models that have had sexual experiences in public outdoor spaces. This series forced the models and forces the viewers to confront behavior that is usually hidden for fear of being considered a sexual deviant. I consider the act of sex in a public and/or outdoor space to be a common, although lesser form of exhibitionism. It is something majority of people have done, but don’t normally disclose. Censorship and the prescribed sexual norms that are ingrained in our heads from childhood are the foundation of this project.
I was also thinking about media representation of gender when I framed each shot. In the film industry the most dismal rating for a film is an NC-17 rating. This rating surpasses the R rating. Once a film is rated NC -17 its promotional outlets are limited, if at all existent. Films that depict or reference certain aspects of the female orgasm are more likely to receive this rating. Meanwhile the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) are more lenient on portraying or referencing male sexuality and/or nudity.
On the MPAA website the NC -17 rating is defined as “in the view of the Rating Board, most parents would consider patently too adult for their children… rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior”. Websites for the MPAA and CARA (classification and Rating Administration) put an emphasis on parents, specifically protecting children from certain media; parent knowing best. Ultimately this inspired me to want to frame my images of women from the waist up whilst keeping males framed from the waist up. The Lego genitalia replicas worn by each model addresses the pixilation of body parts that is often rendered in television. Using Lego's as a material was a playful way for me to reference our culture’s relationship to censorship, and our own body, beginning in our childhood.

How will you use the grant towards your project (about $500-$1000?):

I intend to use the grant toward equipment and expenses for the shoots such as skin safe adhesive for the lego shoots with models. Also equipment for the end product, such as printing and framing

How will this project manifest itself in the 2013 Studio Tour (encouraged) and at the next Art Eat Up?

Once completed the project will have an audio/visual component. Not only will I be displaying photos of the models in their chosen location of a former public sex act, but I will also interview each model and display a video with each models image. For the video I will be transferring the interviews to vhs tapes and displaying each persons story on an old fashioned television along side their image.