Laura A Dima and Martin Draax share a particular interest in fetishised stereotypes of women. Draax has always used Pin-Ups in his work and Laura has been performing with specific ‘Alter Egos’. Their mutual interest led to a collaboration in a project they called ‘The Identity Machinery’ in which they try to give new meaning to the stereotypes - or rather use them as media. The project had a start-off as an ‘Instagram Soup opera’ but developed into a broader body of work because besides this mutual interest, they turned out to be a streamlined artistic couple in more ways: Martin tends to think in 2D, whereas Laura thinks in 3D. Costumes needed to be found and altered or completely designed, the characters needed to be photographed in an exclusive surrounding, design needed to be applied. In the process, ideas for short films and music arose and so 'The Identity Machinery' grew into a working method rather than one art piece.

Dima and Draax researched the origins of the archetypes, how they were used throughout art history and in pop culture, and how they live on in social media trends. They saw how the costumes and their original meanings became derivates, and how the derivates became derivates themselves.

And how people would always have an opinion if women were to wear any of the costumes, at any time.

They noticed the enormous cultural impact the fetishised costumes have on the public view on ‘women’, and how 'full of symbolism’ they were without ever having been designed for that specific reason. And they saw how the stereotypes were at one moment ‘en vogue’, to be loathed by a new generation of the same cultural niche next.

The artists decided the use of stereotypes, cliche’s and their attire is a perfect medium to discuss the tendency of the public to have an opinion without realising an opinion is not the truth. They discuss feminism, sexism, fetishism, objectivism and conventionalism all in a project that chooses humour and playfulness as a way to be critical.

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In 'The Identity Machinery' started as an Instagram Soap Opera in which stereotypes were recreated, followed and given a new life - that is: women are and have been throughout history, objectified and clothes are and have been a method to divide people into tribes. If women were objectified, we took the objects and made them into subjects - characters in an ongoing story. But the characters in this soap are one and the same person, suffering from a ‘Multiple Reality Disorder’ - indicating any woman can be or become anyone she wants. Or is she led by external forces like opinions, peer pressure, cultural conventions, changing insights? Does she use her attire to get things done or are things done to her and therefore she wears the clothes she wears? In any case, the audience will judge her - as soon as she is in the public area.

As they like to play with the tendency of an audience to be rather quick with opinions, they use the stereotypes and their costumes as media in all works of ‘The Identity Machinery’. Inspired by the MAYA system as coined by Raymond Loewy: they used cliche’s to bind an audience that is not particularly interested in art, and once triggered, they dragged them deeper into their concept. As they like to play with people’s judgements, they now created a work that is hard to place: artists and art connoisseurs wonder if this is art at all, novice spectators don’t realise it’s an art project they are following.

Characters developed and shown in the pictures: Lena Draganovitch (Fit Mum), Luna Lovewitch (Gothic Girl), Lana Claravera (Inner Goddess), Linda Cantacalma (Nurse), LouLou Pisica (Catwoman), Lola Luminova (School Girl), more characters will follow.

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2019- ongoing

Photo by Martin Draax
  • Concept/styling: Laura A Dima, Martin Draax
  • Model/Make up: Laura A Dima
  • @ all rights reserved Dima/Draax

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