- Geri Dempsey
“It’s about really placing your work out there, you choose a theme that you want to go for, and have a presentation where you basically sell yourself, your aesthetic and your style. So me, Mark and a few others came together because we’re really interested in body image and social media, so our theme was called media and body, and “Define Bodies” just grew from there.”
Define Bodies began as a class project. Meeting Caoimhe and Mark, both textiles students in NCAD clarifies any doubts anyone may have about the quality or necessity of the work created in art colleges.
“Bringing your studio work into the real world and finding out how it impacts the audience is the purpose of our projects.”
It isn’t just art for arts sake, it’s about starting a conversation to engage with real people. Define Bodies spans both the online and offline as it’s transitioned from class project to social media project.
“We set up an Instagram page called Define Bodies where people can send in pictures of parts of themselves that they don’t like, it can be anonymous or not, which can really build up people’s confidence. We started taking pictures initially, and then people starting sending them. People started submitting really cool things, and we really didn’t expect it to take off, but I suppose there’s no real communal group where people can post things, especially where its so easily accessible.”
The future of “Define Bodies” is ever changing, and is a theme that may be carried through to other projects during their time in college.
“We’re currently in the process of realising an idea of designing stickers to place on the mirrors in the fitting rooms of several high street stores or even having an anonymous box where people can interact, to simply start the conversation with women about how they feel when they’re in a changing room. Challenging that age old question of what do you dislike the most about yourself when you look in the mirror?
Taking Define Bodies online is crucial, and not just at a local level. People really don’t realise how much of an impact social media has on their mental health. The benefits of having more normal imagery on social media feeds is invaluable. We’re scrolling through them for hours every day, so it’s refreshing to change up what they look like, even by just adding one or two “normal” photos of real people each week. Soon it will begin to become normalised and not stand out as harshly against the blur of photo shopped bikini models. Linking people together through mutual understanding that we all have something we hate is emblematic of our generation. The same way memes bring us together by poking fun at quite often very serious situations still results in us being criticized for not taking things seriously, which couldn’t be less true, We’ve found our own way of coping, and have adapted to our environment in order to survive.
Understanding how your audience reacts to your work, is a more modern take on art. Rather than just creating something and hoping it sticks its about adding the interactive element and creating art that helps people, isn’t alienating and works towards a greater goal. It really shows anyone still cynical about art and design courses the value of these students, the problem solvers of tomorrow.
Creativity breeds innovation.
Mark McNulty - @mark.mcn
Caoimhe Ni Bhroin - @caoiva