Zed Nelson, from “Love Me”, 2009
The body is a cultural construct. Social, political, ideological, and it is a technology (1). It has its modern institutions not only in the arts and media, not only in the historical genealogies of political bodies of aristocratic or state representations, but very much today in the pharmaceutical and dietetic industry, the cosmetics industry, the advertising industries, the surgical industry. We are visual subjects (2) and our image, physical or networked through the internet and electronic media in general, is the constant site and mediation of our visual subjectivities. The medical, sexual and political discipline and mobilization of our bodies is central to the making of our idea of oneself.
In this context, Zed Nelson’s Love Me project is a very interesting look into the commoditization of beauty as a social asset, the shaping of body towards this ideal, and its surgical and cosmetic maintenance as an activity of self definition.
More images available on the author’s web site or in his book Love Me, published in 2009.
(1) i make reference here to Foucault’s concept of technologies of the self, as devices through which we effect the social construction of personal identity.
(2) defined by Mirzoeff as “By the visual subject, I mean a person who is both constituted as an agent of sight (regardless of his or her biological capacity to see) and as the effect of a series of categories of visual subjectivity.” (Mirzoeff, 2002)