Wednesday, May 16, 2007 and its cyborg models

When Amazon arrived on my doorstep this morning, I thought it would be Björk I’d be enthusing about, but I was quite excited by something else (much cheaper) inside my Amazon parcel: a leaflet advert for, who I’d never heard of. Turns out they’re a pretty large, pretty sophisticated, and aesthetically ‘pretty’ on-line shop that selects certain ‘designer’ stores and filters selected goods through its shopping engine. Their current advertising campaign and, in fact, the insignia used throughout the site, more than flirts with cyborgian ideas, it’s positively mating with them!!

It is important, of course, that such challenging and speculative images are connecting directly with a highly corporate, consumerist machine. It is disappointing that it appears only to be this specific social/economic world that understands the complexity of society’s layering upon the body (especially the female body – as most of the figures used by are female), at the same time as understanding and expressing fearlessly society's and the body's delight in material accumulation for aesthetic appeal and sensual indulgence.

Unfortunately, that’s where consumerism’s progressiveness grinds to a disappointing halt. Throughout these images, consistently deviant and dangerous in their potential for the functionality and fashion-aesthetic for the human (mostly female) body, is an equally consistent normative insistence upon the presentation of the white, unimpaired, young, skinny, female body.

This is, after all, only an advertising campaign, and Yoox’s primary intention is to sell its goods and make money, not to forward, support and present controversial and progressive images which might alter the way society thinks, imagines, and sees. On the contrary, in order to make money, the company has to target… the usual suspects.

It’s a shame, because in its expression of today’s unlimited communication and interconnectivity, as well as the digitisation of nature, and the naturalisation of technology, and the “human” body’s inseparable positioning, caught in the midst of this highly-charged (literally and metaphorically!) atmosphere, at home in this crisply chaotic environment, this contribution to commercials-as-art could be so much more. But the elderly, the raced, the dis/abled, the fleshly, and the prostheticised are missing and invisible, as usual. And the Overseer, also unseen, but with a spectator’s view and privileges, is pressing the buttons in His high-tech, silky-smooth, capsule-office in the sky… as dollar signs flash in His eyes…

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