Hafsa Sakaria

Our project is about male gaze and how men stare at women especially in public places. The concept of men staring at women has become so common in our everyday life that we mostly ignore it. Therefore, we chose a public park/family park as our site and visited it on a Sunday when there are more people visiting the park. The park is located near Hill Park known as Kokan Park.

 

We decided to carry a mirror around the park and place it in front of the men staring at from outside the park or from inside to see their reaction and how they would respond by getting caught staring at their own gaze. First of all as we entered the park we took a tour and noticed the number of men gazing at women. We identified three men in particular, who were staring from outside through the park grill and all three of them were found at different corners of the park. One by one we carried the mirror in front of them to block their view by their own reflection.

kokon

Experience:

What we noticed was that placing a mirror made them slightly confused and awkward. This may have been because firstly, mirror is an unusual object to be found in a park, and secondly, they were caught looking at their own reflection. However, none of the men moved from their place, even though their view had been blocked after a while they started looking elsewhere from the same place where they had been before.

 

Our work uses collectivity as it can be repeated in other sites and places with different surroundings and it is also relational because the experience of their own reflection is an art that we tried to create.

 

Sequence 020

 

Video documentation : https://vimeo.com/112062409

 

FINAL ESSAY (First Draft) – HAFSA SAKARIA

 

Male gaze comes from men being the watchers and women being ogled, when the gaze is set to the heterosexual man’s perspective, taking away the agency from the female and accord it to the male. In that case women are sexually objectified from the spectator that are not always the males but they are put in the eyes of the males. Similarly, I think female gaze is also the same as male gaze. Women position them selves into male shoes, and judge themselves from a male’s perspective. Feminists are against male gaze; they find themselves equal to men and have a role and representation in society. For example Cindy Sherman’s untitled stills- she is highlighting dominance of women in society and how unintentionally we are staring at her- she is accentuating the male gaze.

My concept was very simple yet it pushed a lot of boundaries and made the spectator question it. I went for a minimalistic approach and my inspiration was Robert Morris as his work helped to define the centrality of the experience of the spectator.

My concept revolved around Male gaze and reflection.  I chose Kokan Family Park as my site near Hill Park. I opted for a family park so that I could gather more females as oppose to males.  I chose to do this project on a Sunday as it has more women and males (drivers). First I went inside the park and took a tour of the site. I observed a lot of men were standing outside the park and continuously ogling women, also not only men from outside the park, also the ones sitting inside the park were busy staring at women running. Therefore, my main idea was to block their gaze by not just letting them see what they wanted but also making them see their own reflection so they feel the ‘gaze’ as to what it feels like being stared at.

This idea came from two sources. Firstly, In The Year of the White Bear, 1992 by Fusco and Gómez-Peña, they both were dressed as Amerindians and locked in a cage for 3 days, they were being looked, stared scrutinized and goggled closely, and after the act when Gómez-Peña was asked how did he find the perpetual gaze he replied ‘I had a more emotionally involved experience, I don’t know how to turn off. As a result I came out of the cage three days later completely, spiritually devastated. And Coco was complete and whole and ready to do the next piece. Just because coco is a female she was used to being scrutinized like all the females are but for a male being perpetually gazed by females and males was more like a torture. This is where the idea of making men confused and awkward came from.

The selection of the medium came from Robert Morris work untitled (mirrored cubes (1965-1971). His work explained his principle. As the viewer walks around the four cubes, their mirrored surfaces produce complex and shifting interactions between gallery and spectator. This is what made me select mirror as a medium because it connected the object and the subject successfully. My object became my subject and vise versa, which made the artwork even more exciting as the relationship became even stronger grabbing more interest.

My main goal was successful which was to make the male confuse, awkward and annoyed but what I wanted them was to stop staring which they didn’t. My work uses collectivity as it can be repeated in other sites and places with different surroundings and it is also relational because the experience of their own reflection is an art that we tried to create. My project was partially successful as it did make the male uncomfortable but didn’t make them leave.

 

 

FINAL ESSAY – SITE PROJECT – HAFSA SAKARIA

The gaze is a Feminist theory developed to highlight the power imbalance between men and women analyzing the way men see women, the way women view themselves and other women. The male gaze denies women human agency, relegating them to the status of objects.[1] Male gaze comes from men being the watchers and women being watched, when the gaze is set to the heterosexual man’s perspective, taking away the agency from the female and accord it to the male. In that case women are sexually objectified from the spectator that are not always the males but they are put in the eyes of the males.

 

Correspondingly, I think female gaze is also the same as male gaze. Women position them selves into male shoes, and judge themselves from a male’s perspective. Feminists are against male gaze; they find themselves equal to men and have a role and representation in society. For example Cindy Sherman’s untitled stills- she is highlighting the common idea of gender roles within art, that the female is an object of consumption and the male is the consumer. Also, those women are the passive objects of male visual pleasure.[2]

 

My concept was very simple nonetheless it pushed a lot of boundaries and made the spectator question it. I went for a minimalistic approach and my inspiration was Robert Morris as his work helped to define the centrality of the experience of the spectator.

 

My concept revolved around Male gaze and reflection. I chose Kokan Family Park as my site near Hill Park. I opted for a family park so that I could gather more females as oppose to males. I chose to do this project on a Sunday as it has more females and males. Initially I went inside the park and took a tour of the site. I observed a lot of men were standing outside the park and continuously scrutinizing women, also not only men from outside the park, also the ones sitting inside the park were busy staring at women running. Therefore, my main idea was to block their gaze by not just letting them see what they wanted but also making them see their own reflection so they feel the ‘gaze’ as to what it feels like being stared at.

 

This idea originated from two sources. Initially, In The Year of the White Bear, 1992 by Fusco and Gómez-Peña, they both were dressed as Amerindians and locked in a cage for 3 days, they were being looked, stared, scrutinized and goggled closely, and after the act when Gómez-Peña was asked how did he find the perpetual gaze he replied ‘I had a more emotionally involved experience, I don’t know how to turn off. As a result I came out of the cage three days later completely, spiritually devastated. And Coco was complete and whole and ready to do the next piece.[3] Just because coco is a female she was used to being scrutinized like all the females are but for a male being perpetually gazed by females and males was more like a torture. Which led the idea of making men confused and awkward. The difference between the gaze on Fusco and Gómez was that they sexually provoked her while Gómez was fondled as they both were objects but the subject had the agency to do so.

 

The selection of the medium came from Robert Morris work untitled (mirrored cubes (1965-1971). His work explained his principle. As the viewer walks around the four cubes, their mirrored surfaces produce complex and shifting interactions between gallery and spectator.[4] This is what made me select mirror as a medium because it connected the object and the subject successfully. My object became my subject and vise versa, which made the artwork even more exciting as the relationship became even stronger grabbing more interest. I think there is no difference between the gaze on fusco’s work and the gaze of males in the park as the park itself looked like a big cage making the females the object and making the males staring from outside as the subjects. Therefore the relationship connects and when they see their own gaze in the reflection , they are left embarassed.

 

My main goal was successful which was to reveal the male gaze but at the same time stopping it by making the male feel discomfort and guilty My work uses collectivity as it can be repeated in other sites and places with different surroundings and it is also relational because the experience of their own reflection is an art that we tried to create. My project was partially successful as it did make the male uncomfortable but didn’t make them discontinue.

 

 

 Bibliography

 

 

 

  • Johnson Anna ‘Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña

by Anna Johnson’ Bomb Magazine http://bombmagazine.org/article/1599/          (upload date unknown) [Last accessed: 6th december 2014]

 

  • Morris Robert ‘Display caption’ tate.org.uk ‘http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/morris-untitled-t01532’ (upload date unknown ) [Last accessed: 6th December 2014]

 FOOTNOTES: 

[1] Soph ‘Laura Mulvey;s male gaze theory’ blogspot http://mixsoph.blogspot.com/2008/11/gaze-is-feminist-theory-developed-to.html (date uploaded november 2nd 2008 [ last accessed: 6th December 2014]

[2] Deborah pow ‘Response and Reflection’ WordPress http://dlpow.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/gender-cindy-sherman/ (upload date: November 9th 2012) [last accessed: 6th December 2014]

[3] Anna Johnson ‘Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña

by Anna Johnson’ Bomb Magazine http://bombmagazine.org/article/1599/ (upload date unknown) [Last accessed: 6th december 2014]

[4] Robert Morris ‘Display caption’ tate.org.uk ‘http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/morris-untitled-t01532’ (upload date unknown ) [Last accessed: 6th December 2014]

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