Zoya nadeem

SITE PROJECT BY HAFSA SAKARIA AND ZOYA NADEEM

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

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

Sequence 020

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

_____________________________________________________________________________
FINAL PAPER- FIRST DRAFT

Ms Word Link with footnotes: first draft

My artwork takes a critical view of a social issue that we face everyday i.e. the male gaze. The term ‘Gaze’ essentially refers to the act of looking. Margaret Olin writes that the gaze implies a sustained, deliberate looking that combines pleasure and knowledge often placing those two within the context of power and desire .

The term ‘male gaze’ has been a subject of much debate by art historians and has been used in many feminists context to describe objectification of women and when the audience is put into the perspective of a man in a way that females are sexualized and seen as an ‘object’. What I am suggesting is that male gaze is seen as a very normal behavior in our society. Thus, my work tends to highlight this concept in a public sphere, especially in a place like where we have become so indifferent to it.

When I came up with this concept, I wanted to show how normal it has become to openly stare at women in our area irrespective of the place, be it a family park or a private/public place.

I chose a family park as my site near Hill Park. My idea was to carry a mirror around the park and place it in front of the men staring from outside and from the inside of the park. The aim was to block their view by seeing their own reflection in the mirror and to see how they would respond by getting caught staring at their own gaze so publicly.

I chose to use an average size mirror (3ft x 3ft) as my medium for my project because even though it’s an everyday common object there’s a relationship between a mirror and one’s gaze. And by relationship I mean the reflection that it creates which reflects you. Just like how the gaze of those men were reflected on them. I feel when viewers can see themselves reflected in a work, the art automatically becomes of greater interest and that is why when a mirror was placed in front of them, they were slightly confused and became awkward. This shows that to some extent they did feel that their behavior was caught by their reflection, however, that was just for a few seconds till the mirror was removed. After that they either kept on staring or changed their view but none of them moved away from their place.

In this case, the subjects are the men and the objects are the females that are being viewed and the reflection of those men can also be seen as objects. There’s a particular statement that talks about how ‘A female is turned into an object when she is there solely to give pleasure to this male gaze’ .

For instance, Some exhibitions have taken place in SOMArts Cultural center in San Francisco and another in Kinsey Institute that are relatable to my idea. Both the exhibitions examined the concept of ‘male gaze’ by reversing the gaze and make the man seen as the object this time. Some of the featured artists in SOMArts cultural center included Juana Alicia, Nancy Buchanan, Guerrilla Girls, Lynn Hershman, Jill O’Bryan , ORLAN, Carolee Schneemann, Sylvia Sleigh, Annie Sprinkle, Elizabeth Stephens, May Wilson and Melissa P. Wolf . They examined the visibility of men and masculinity from female perspectives. The male figures assumed the historically female role with the male body and its gender expression shown through different ways. For example in one place, man as object strikes a pose, buttocks pushed out, whereas in other places, men flex in awkward positions or bend .

Moreover, my work uses collectivity as it can be repeated and carried out in different places amongst different audience. It is also relational because the experience of their own reflection and their interaction with the mirror itself was an art that I tried to show. To some extent my project was successful because the reflection made them feel confused, annoyed and awkward in the beginning, however, it also failed, as they didn’t move from their place and continued staring elsewhere.

________________________________________________

FINAL PAPER

 

My artwork takes a critical view of a social issue that our society face everyday i.e. the male gaze. The term ‘Gaze’ essentially refers to the act of looking. Margaret Olin writes that “the gaze implies a sustained, deliberate looking that combines pleasure and knowledge often placing those two within the context of power and desire “[1].

The term ‘male gaze’ has been a subject of much debate by art historians and has been used in many feminists context to describe objectification of women[2] when the viewer is a man in a way that females are sexualized and seen as an ‘object’. What I am suggesting is that male gaze is seen as a very normal behavior in our society. Thus, my work tends to highlight this concept in a public sphere, especially in a place like where we have become so indifferent to it.

When I came up with this concept, I wanted to show how normal it has become to openly stare at women in our society irrespective of the place, be it a family park or a private/public place.

I chose a family park as my site near Hill Park. My idea was to carry a mirror around the park with a help of my friend and a servant and place it in front of the men staring from outside and from the inside of the park. The aim was to block their view by seeing their own reflection in the mirror and to see how they would respond by getting caught staring at their own gaze so publicly. I chose to use an average size mirror (3ft x 3ft) as my medium for my project because even though it’s an everyday common object there’s a relationship between a mirror and one’s gaze. And by relationship I mean the reflection that it creates which reflects you. Just like how the gaze of those men were reflected on them. I feel when viewers can see themselves reflected in a work, the art automatically becomes of greater interest but in my case when a mirror was placed in front of them, they were slightly confused and became awkward. The men did not seem interested in it because they started looking elsewhere. But I found this act interesting as it partially catered towards my aim and the mirror was able to distract them from looking inside. This shows that to some extent they did feel that their behavior was caught by their reflection, however, that was just for a few seconds till the mirror was removed. After that they either kept on staring or changed their view but none of them moved away from their place.

In this case, the subjects are the men and the objects are the females that are being viewed and the reflection of those men can also be seen as objects. There’s a particular phrase in an article by Shawn Daughhetee about how ‘A female is turned into an object when she is there solely to give pleasure to this male gaze’ [3].

The inspiration for this idea came from two exhibitions that took place in SOMArts Cultural center in San Francisco and another in Kinsey Institute that are relatable to my idea. Both the exhibitions examined the concept of ‘male gaze’ by reversing the gaze and make the man seen as the object this time. This time the male will be taking on the female role for the audience to enjoy and view. The artwork exhibited in this gallery was effective in two ways: as the male viewer encounters the male nude, he is required to feel like many other women who feel powerless of being owned and objectified. Some of the featured artists in SOMArts cultural center included Juana Alicia, Nancy Buchanan, Guerrilla Girls, Lynn Hershman, Jill O’Bryan , ORLAN, Carolee Schneemann, Sylvia Sleigh, Annie Sprinkle, Elizabeth Stephens, May Wilson and Melissa P. Wolf [4]. They examined the visibility of men and masculinity from female perspectives. The male figures assumed the historically female role with the male body and its gender expression shown through different ways. For example in one place, man as object strikes a pose, buttocks pushed out, whereas in other places, men flex in awkward positions or bend [5]. Similar was the aim of my project; the person who is the object, the man, is treated as a thing by his reflection in the mirror.

My work uses collectivity as it can be carried out in different places with a bunch of different audience. It is also relational because the experience of their own reflection and their interaction with the mirror itself was an art that I tried to show. My project was aiming to change the behavior of the people staring; therefore, to some extent my project was successful because the aim of my project was to make them feel confused, annoyed and awkward by their own reflection in a public place. However, it also failed, as they didn’t move from their place and continued staring elsewhere.

It is important to note that I targeted men who were staring from outside the park through the partition grills and those who were inside. But what’s interesting is that we had different unexpected outcome from the inside and from the outside. Unlike the outside, people inside the park were caught by the attention of the mirror even if they weren’t staring because for them mirror was an unusual object to be seen in a park especially when girls are carrying it and running around the park with it. This lead to some confusion among them as to what exactly was happening so even if they weren’t looking they were directed to look at it. This is where I feel my project failed because mirror had influenced their behavior and they were more conscious about it.

 

 

WORKS CITIED

[1] Margaret Olin, “Gaze,” in Critical Terms for Art History, eds. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 209-210.

[2] WOMEN, OBJECTS OF DESIRE PLAGUED BY THE MALE GAZE.

http://artissues-bodyrepresentation.weebly.com/the-male-gaze.html

[3] Shawn Daughhetee, Woman as object, Woman as subject: The Male Gaze and the DC comics relaunch, Posted: October 09, 2011.

http://www.thedollarbin.net/shows/2012/10/9/woman-as-object-woman-as-subject-the-male-gaze-and-the-dc-comics-relaunch

[4] Georgia Platts, Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze, Posted: Oct 28, 2011

http://msmagazine.com/blog/2011/10/28/man-as-object-reversing-the-gaze/

[5] Ibid.

Bibliography

 

Daughhetee, Shawn, ‘Woman as Object, Woman as Subject’ (Posted: October 9, 2011)

http://www.thedollarbin.net/shows/2012/10/9/woman-as-object-woman-as-subject-the-male-gaze-and-the-dc-comics-relaunch

 

 

Olin, Margaret, ‘Gaze’ in critical terms for art history (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).

 

http://keengraphics.net/keenblog/2013/05/03/confronting-the-gendered-gaze-female-photographic-self-portraiture-in-the-postmodern-era/

 

 

http://artissues-bodyrepresentation.weebly.com/the-male-gaze.html

 

 

Platts, Georgia, Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze. (Posted: Oct 28, 2011).

http://msmagazine.com/blog/2011/10/28/man-as-object-reversing-the-gaze/

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