Oil on photograph canvas, 24" X 30"
Any attempt to fully verbalize my motives behind my artistic practice will be inherently flawed. When the author is divorced from his work, it can communicate only that which is readily accessible to its audience. Written supplements can enhance the work, but can also deny the viewer the ability to dissect the levels of interpretation themselves. Instead, I wish to simply share the story of my project's genesis.
Last year, while studying in London, I overheard something peculiar that caught my attention. While on the tube, I overheard a woman telling her friend about her new designer, “body bag.” My mind assumed the worst as I contemplated this new bizarre fashion trend. I immediately searched Google for, “designer body bag,” which resulted in 200,000 images of purses.
I was confused for a moment, and then realized the peculiarity of this linguistic difference. Semantically, the term “body bag” in
Britain refers to a long-strapped purse that is worn across the body, shortened from “cross-body bag.” This term conjures in my mind, as well as many other Americans, images of corpses inside plastic sacks. Conversely, the British refer to these as, “cadaver pouches.”
I repeated this revelation in my mind and enjoyed exploring the unique and macabre juxtaposition of fashion and death. I envisioned body bags made from fine materials, emblazoned with name-brand labels. I was also inspired by the rich history of the memento mori and decided to embark on my deadliest mission yet, creating a line of designer cadaver pouches.
I intend to open a series of one-month pop-ups, displaying the body bags and other supplementary artwork that completes the Transmedia Gesamtkunstwerk. Overall, I seek to create a viral internet sensation, befuddling and capturing the interest of the globalized web population while also displaying the public manifestations of these ideas in reality.
© Mark Allen (M. A. Alford)