Madeleine Stackforeign bodies

2014MECABFA (hons) Visual Arts

is a trio of wooden sculptures printed on both sides with highly pixelated images of tourists in the act of taking a photograph. Their cameras are obscuring their faces and their stance seems somehow unsteady, as though perched on the edge of a precipice. The flimsiness of their construction means that, installed on a stretch of road, they appear to wobble slightly back and forth.

By combining the flatness of the sculptures with the highly visible pixelated digital imagery I wanted to create an interplay between simulacra and real, between virtual and actual. With the figures seemingly cut directly out of the landscape and dropped into the environment, I was playing with the idea of the digital made real and the real made digital. The act of looking at a person in the act of looking while they are apparently standing on a pedestrian overpass over a nondescript stretch of arterial road, was meant to ask what it is that separates what is worth documenting and what exists only as void space to be passed through?

These works contain an element of humour and surprise deriving from their uncanny resemblance to a real figure that has become a caricature of itself – the tourist. The camera-wielding stance is instantly recognizable and present today at any large-scale event, as the audience (be it of a concert, a religious gathering, or a natural phenomenon) mediates their experience through a digital screen. With no discernible identity, context or nationality, the figures are made foreign in any situation, frozen in the act of creating an image which remains a mystery to the viewer.

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