Continuing the project from last semester, myself and my friend visited the same toilets and purchased the items out of the vending machines with the intention of being able to show people exactly what was inside. At first, I had the idea of demystifying the items by displaying them in a scientific manner, such as in a vitrine, like what would be found in a museum or gallery space. After consideration, the project started moving in a different direction, as I realised a vitrine setting still maintained a certain distance from the viewer. I wanted a more tactile, ‘interactive’ experience. I started working on designing a sort of brochure or catalogue of the items, as if you were a prospective buyer looking to see what the machines had to offer.
After reflecting on all the options, I decided that the strength was in the actual photography, photographing the objects removed from their packaging digitally in the studio producing a series of scientific, abstract macro photographs. I decided the best way to play with the ideas of taboo, embarrassment, desire and secrecy was to totally abstract these things – by enlarging them many times their actual size, they become humorous, and attention is drawn to the textures and subtleties of each items surfaces. From afar they look like many things in everyday life; speeding trains, keyboard keys, oil paintings, but get up close and they become something entirely different. Works such as Kevin Newark’s Protoplasm, Nobuyoshi Araki’s various series of flowers, food and other objects in macro and Stephen Gill’s Above Ground works were influencing the final output.
My goal of the project was to show the viewer: these things are not dirty, or anything to avoid talking about. They are merely objects used for pleasure. Tacky, maybe, but they should not be taboo.
The final output was nine 40cm x 40cm digital Giclée colour prints, mounted on Dibond.