Vestal Virgins (shut that whole thing down)
Archival digital prints
2017

A series of altered photographs of the Vestal Virgin statues found in Rome’s Temple of Vesta. These images are processed in the darkroom using solarization (a technique that, according to some accounts, photographer Lee Miller accidentally “discovered” when processing Man Ray's prints. He took credit for this discovery and capitalized upon it.) The photographs are then distorted digitally with a beauty-enhancing app called FaceTune. The parenthetical title is a quote from former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin who once said abortions wouldn't be necessary for rape victims. Quote: "If it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” The parenthetical title de-contextualizes this absurd statement, and the viewer can examine the multiple implications in what now sounds like a call to arms. With the knowledge that the neoclassical sculpture of U.S. imperialism was modeled on that of ancient Rome, this project traces both a sculptural inheritance and the inheritance of Empire’s reliance on the legislated female body. At the same time, it embraces the liberating potentials of an app that allows women to enhance and perform their own images.

 
 
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